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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Roosevelt Park, Edison, New Jersey, USA

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Roosevelt Park, Edison, New Jersey, USA
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Registered: December 2008
City/Town/Province: Marlboro
Posts: 1
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“Smile everyone!” The chaperones took one last picture of whomever they could get to pose before all the children could set their garbage bags down and run to the swings across the street. Picnics, relaxing walks, ice-skating, and the occasional bird watching all takes place in Roosevelt Park located in Edison, New Jersey. Less than five minutes away from my mosque, I spent the majority of my childhood learning to ride my bike there, eating cherry ices on the grass, and feeding the ducks with leftover bread from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As a child, it was more than just a park. But as I grew older and approached the summer before my senior year of high school, I realized that this was not the place I remembered and not the same place I wished to remember in the future. It became a high traffic zone, thus justifying drivers to throw their soda cans and gum out the window. Watching the trash pile up while children played around cigarette butts disturbed me. From then on, with my youth club, I organized the cleanup of Roosevelt Park. While getting approval from the parks and recreation, finding chaperones, and getting all the children to have their waiver forms complete was a difficult task, every moment of planning was worth the final product. I not only gained a sense of community and self- satisfaction, but Roosevelt Park transformed into how I remembered it as a child—a beautiful and clean place to play. I strongly believe that awareness is the first step toward solving any problem. Therefore, in order to make a lasting effect, I created signs to spread awareness about recycling, and to promote the proper disposal of trash. After conducting this park cleanup, I made certain that this was not a one-time activity, but a commitment. After my first park cleanup in May, I made sure that a park cleanup would be held every other month to ensure and maintain the cleanliness. I hoped that each park cleanup could serve as an experiment and that we would find less trash as months passed; however, this was not the case. By the time September rolled around we were not fortunate enough to see the garbage in the area disappear, but what I did notice is that at the end of each cleanup, each volunteer walked away with a smile. However, still hold hope that this short term commitment can lead to long term change. Before having heard about the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative, three park cleanups had come and gone. Although voluntary service should be done selflessly, I felt and still feel accomplished and internally happy that I did something good for the environment, good for the people of Edison, New Jersey, and good for my community. The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative is more than just an opportunity to get a scholarship, but a chance to get noticed and a chance to get others across the nation to feel the same sense of fulfillment that I feel with each cleanup.
Date: December 31, 2008 Views: 10167 File size: 31.6kb, 271.9kb : 1500 x 1125
Hours Volunteered: 69
Volunteers: 23
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 10 to 48
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 10
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 35.1
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