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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Pine Barrens, Hammonton, New Jersey, USA

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Pine Barrens, Hammonton, New Jersey, USA


Registered: April 2008
City/Town/Province: Cherry Hill
Posts: 1
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Living in the most densely populated state in the country, New Jersey, I have grown accustomed to being around lots of people a regular habit. Finding a hideout from the daily hustle and bustle is easier said than done. That is why when I discovered the most wonderful natural oasis, the Pine Barrens, I wanted to stay for life. Less than 20 minutes from my home I can escape to the wonderful wilderness in New Jersey. After becoming familiar with the area I realized I had to give back to the place that gave so much to me. Streams littered with trash, animals loosing their homes, and seeing my hideaway being invaded and destroyed by off the road vehicles set me over the edge. I had to make a difference!
So I decided to research the area in order to understand the ecosystems. Hoping to make a difference I gathered my friends and we set out to clean up a small area right off route 206, in Hammonton. For three weeks we cleaned and cleaned, removing over 700 soda cans, 84 plastic bags, 184 beer bottles, and so much more. When we finished we stood back and said, “Wow, is this really the same place?” From that day forward we made a pact that we would come back every winter break, spring break, and summer vacation we would take at least one weekend and clean. That was three years ago, and we are still completely faithful.
People that hike by and drive by stop and talk to us, asking what we are doing. The same response is given every time, “We are making our world a better place”. Their reactions vary from a casual laugh to great interest. Some people get motivated and help for a little while, while others are unaffected. All it takes is a little determination, if not for ones self than for the helpless animals. Like the Pine Barrens Tree Frog, or the Spotted Turtle, or the Northern Water Snake, or the endangered Lady Slipper orchid. The tranquil “Waaa-Whaa” of the Pine Barrens Tree Frog needs to be there forever, the beauty of the Lady Slipper needs to be there forever, the beautiful Spotted Turtle needs to keep basking forever, and everyone can make a difference.
Helping the fauna is not the only benefit; your inner self gets stronger. You feel as though you accomplished something, as though you had just got that shiny new bicycle you wanted for the last year. The feeling cannot be described by words. This area needs to be kept pure so the future generations can enjoy it, so life can continue for all the animals and plants that call the Pine Barrens home. There are more and more people in this world each day; the land is not growing with the population. How easy is it to plow in dirty old ponds, cut down forests plagued with trash without caring about the consequences? But, if that land is pristine with frogs calling, turtles basking, snakes soaking up the sun, birds chirping, and no trash in site- what then? It is a lot harder to destroy something beautiful. It will make the developers think twice, it will make the illegal dumpers think twice, it will make the off the road vehicles use a different route. That is what it is all about, making a difference! That is why we are doing what we are doing.
Hearing about the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative widened my smile. It made so much sense. Promoting youths to save our earth, our air, and our livelihood. We are but mere renters on this land. We do not own mother earth just because we have a slip of paper or because we pay taxes. Teaching the youth of the world this through conservation, recycling, environmental cleaning, and education of the natural environment are the ideas behind the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative. With these values instilled in the up and coming generations we have a good no a great chance in bettering our landlord’s, mother earth, domain.
Date: April 16, 2008 Views: 9512 File size: 37.6kb : 350 x 263
Hours Volunteered: 300
Volunteers: 6
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 to 24
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 1.2
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 136
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