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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Rio Grande, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

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Rio Grande, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
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Janet



Registered: December 2008
Posts: 1
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Save Our Planet
By: Janet Avila


It was 8:15 a.m, I was still tired and I was not ready to go. I thought I looked ridiculous because we were supposed to wear old clothes and shoes; so I thought that I looked like a hobo. We were on our way to the forest, and as we got closer, I grew more excited. My classmate Nour and I were sharing headphones, agreeing and disagreeing with the music she was playing. I was not sure what to expect because I had never planted anything in my life. I felt special because no one else in our program had gotten the privilege to go to the Bosque. I was not really looking forward to the assignment part of this field trip. For now, I wanted to put that aside and just enjoy the experience
When we first got in the van I said to myself, “This is going be the lamest field trip ever.” Wrong. It was going to be one of the best experiences of my life.
It took us twenty minutes to get there. We were driving along the eastern bank of the river almost to the interstate by Isleta. When I got out of the van and saw what the Bosque looked like, I was horrified. I could not believe what I was seeing. There were some trees that were still standing proudly, but I saw that most of them were lying on the floor burnt into a pile of ashes. It was like a fallen monument. There were a couple of heavy machines trying to clean the disaster that had struck this place. I was not prepared to see this; I didn’t think that it would be this devastated. Martin Martinez, our guide, had told us that the fire had consumed it in the year of 2004. Four years later and it still looked horrible. When I saw this view I immediately thought of my home state, California. I thought about all the wildfires that had struck this beautiful state. I saw the damage it had done, so I had empathy for this Bosque. I thought the Bosque was in really bad shape, but we were there to make a difference
-- no matter how small.
Martinez, a Bosque forest ranger, was the first person to talk to us while we were there. As he was talking to us I couldn’t wait to start planting the trees. He was talking to us about the ecosystem and how the fire had affected the Bosque. He told us that because the Rio Grande was not allowed to flood, the cottonwood trees, one of the endangered species of New Mexico, could not germinate. This Bosque was being taken over by the Salt Cedar and the Russian olive. These trees would take all the water and leave the other trees without it. They would also rob nutrients from native bushes and trees, causing them to dry up.
Because the Rio Grande was not allowed to flood, fish were also being affected. The silvery minnow was becoming endangered because its breeding area was lessened. They also told us that a long time ago, people use to catch really big catfish and trout because humans were not controlling the Rio Grande.
Not only are trees and fish affected but so are the animals that live in the Bosque. Many species of animals were being affected because some of the trees were homes to birds, squirrels and other animals, too. The ponds that were there could not be used due to the contamination and pollution.
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally got to plant the trees. I teamed up with my classmate Amanda, a.k.a “Flip Flop Queen”, and Lisa, our teacher’s assistant. Amanda was given this nickname because the guest speaker that came to our class told us to wear close-toed shoes and she was the only one wearing flip flops. My classmates and I were ready to plant trees. I thought it was going to be easy, but it was harder than I thought. The first tree I planted was with the help of Lisa. Amanda was getting lessons on how to plant a tree with a different shovel, but she didn’t look that enthusiastic using a different shovel from everyone else. We also noticed that there was a lot of clay we had to get through to be able to plant the tree. Lisa and I were digging the hole, but we discovered that there were a lot of roots from the neighboring trees. We moved the hole three times because of these ancient roots. We finally dug a hole, but by that time the other groups had planted about three trees. We were at a disadvantage and needed to catch up with our classmates, Nour and Nicole, Adrian and Jacob, and Edsel and Lulu. We were all in a race with Adrian and Jacob because they were like machines planting tree after tree. After the first tree Flip Flop Queen joined us for the tree planting and we were excited to get more done. As we were planting we were talking and laughing at the things we were telling each other. We were also thinking of a more efficient way to plant our trees. Even though it was a lot of hard work, I really enjoyed it. We planted a total of six trees; I thought we were going to plant more, but Jacob and Adrian didn’t leave any for us. They did a total of ten trees; Nour and Nicole, nine; and Edsel and Lulu, five. Jacob and Adrian were excited to hear that they were the ones that planted the most trees.
When we were all done planting the trees, our guide took us to see a pond that had been cleaned up. It had been full of litter from people and none of the animals would use it. The pond was really gooey, green, mossy, full of lily pads, and I could tell that it was really deep. I was kind of scared but curious at the same time to see what kind of animals lived inside the pond. This pond had once been there without having any use, but now it was home to many animals and a source of food to others.
Martinez also took us to see a little canal that was covered in jetty jacks. Jetty jacks are cross-steeled structures that catch debris in the Rio Grande during times of flooding. These jetty jacks have been there for about fifty years and have prevented the river from flooding. That was when I realized that all of the damage that had been done to the Rio Grande was the fault of the human race.
I realized that we can save our planet no matter how small the changes are. People just sit there waiting for the world to end when they don’t know that they can do something about it. We see all of the commercials on how to go green but people don’t think much of it. They don’t realize that they can do it and how easy it is to accomplish it. I think that if people became more aware of what they can do, then we could all save our planet for the next generations to come. Take the time to go do some community service and plant trees and I promise you that the experience will change your life. I learned that by planting some trees you can make a big change in the environment. If I can do it, ANYONE can.
· Date: December 28, 2008 · Views: 3848 · File size: 17.3kb, 86.9kb · : 912 x 814 ·
Hours Volunteered: 24
Volunteers: 8
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 to 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.5
Native Trees Planted: 50
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