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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - John Rudy County Park, York, Pennsylvania, USA

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John Rudy County Park, York, Pennsylvania, USA
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Registered: December 2008
City/Town/Province: York
Posts: 1
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The ground was pealing away leisurely as the shovel nicked off the sides of a semi-deep, cylindrical hole. A foot had already been met and five more inches were desired as rocks delayed the final steps, and the rain began to increase. The icy autumn air blew the cold droplets onto my skin; I fastened by hat around my chin to keep it from leaving. Dropping the shovel, I ran to keep Luka from falling to the ground. My nana helped me pull Luka’s roots safely out of her casing, once the hole was finished, and we secure her in the earth. Earlier, the weather had been better. As we transferred Luka from Go Native Tree Farm to John Rudy Pennsylvania State Park, and gave her a new home in front of a pavilion, the rain clouds developed. There was a cross-country race happening and the rain did not stop them and it did not stop us either. Quickly becoming covered in mud, I had an extremely fun time shoveling in the freezing rain. My Nana pick axed when necessary, but I enjoyed the independence and the feeling of being one with my surroundings.
This summer I went to Miami, Florida on my yearly visit to my father and stepmother. Upon arriving at the animal rescue, where we live, I noticed the house was filled with Woodsy Owl, Mark Trail, and Smokey the Bear memorabilia and was wondering what phase of interest my father had now entered. He began to explain his focus on environmental affairs and took me out to the large backyard and began the topic: native plants. He mentioned specific plants, where he would place them, and why. He showed me what had been done and what needed to be done developing his idea of a native plant garden doubling as a place for us to walk the shelter dogs for exercise. All I heard about was this plant doing this and that plant doing that, and I was highly interested, but I live in Pennsylvania. At some point it dawned on me to hop onto my Mac and search for native plant restoration efforts in my home state. I came across the “Apprentice Ecologist Initiative.”
Upon reading the goals of the “Apprentice Ecologist Initiative,” I became rather attached to supporting this effort. Soon after my return to Pennsylvania I attended a local presentation on native plants, their uses and importance. The presentation was very informative and fueled ideas and immediate contact with persons of authority. Gaining the contact information of a man who is in charge of many of the local parks, I was secured a spot to plant a tree. Now, I just had to research and find the perfect tree. The tree had to be native, and though I could not find any seeds I was able to get a young tree from a local tree farm and procreation center. At “Go Native” tree farms I found Luka, a healthy tree of just over five feet once in the ground. I chose the native Liriodendron tulipifera, a magnoliaceae, commonly known as a tulip tree. I chose this tree for its great height and ability to provide shade. Luka’s new home is near a pavilion where shade is of great interest. Tulip trees also grow quickly, especially in moist soil, and are typically healthy and easy to take care of. They may have trouble with aphids being attracted to their “honeydew drips” (Cullina 162), so I will check on Luka more frequently in the spring.
Planting Luka and engaging the process to find her and learn more about her was inspirational. I though of my little cousin’s elementary school and the student led garden they started, and of my father’s plan and efforts regarding the animal shelter. I propositioned my school for permission to use the empty courtyard for a student led garden stressing my intended use of native plants, and especially milkweeds to help the monarch population. Unfortunately, my letter including my plans for making the soil fertile through the winter so we could plant in the spring was denied. My friend suggested we start a club and we have recently done so, meeting every four days during our free period at school. There are seven of us, including myself, and we are slowly making progress. Our primary goal being to make the cafeteria less disposable and more compostable through the products of the local Greenline Paper company. We also have the plan of recycling the ink cartridges used by the computer labs, get a solar panel donated to the school to conduct research with and convince the school to invest in permanently, create awareness of the water being wasted in restrooms from overly sensitive motion sensors, and many other ideas branched of the lists’ expected progress. We are still pushing for the garden, and hope to hear from the administration regarding our other plans soon.
Though much has yet to be done, I thank the “Apprentice Ecologist Initiative” for opening my eyes to getting out there and trying to make a difference. I am meeting obstacles everyday, in my quest to help the environment, but am determined to make my ideas count. I am not in this alone, and it is comforting to know there is support for a cause that benefits us all. Without my father, my Nana, and my group of friends at school, I would be sitting around finding all that I have done impossible. I have very environmentally aware parents, and was raised to be conscious of how I affect everything. I aspire to become an environmental lawyer and this project has severely increased my motivation. I cannot wait to see what positive change I helped to bring, in my lifetime, no matter how small.

Works Cited
Cullina, William. Native Trees, Shrubs, & Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Woody Plants. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.
· Date: December 29, 2008 · Views: 3817 · File size: 24.2kb, 499.9kb · : 789 x 1188 ·
Hours Volunteered: 11
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 and 60
Native Trees Planted: 1
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