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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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Registered: January 2009
Posts: 1
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By: Nicole

The Rio Grande was once a beautiful, natural flowing river, which people would come from miles to see. But that was then. Now the river is not allowed to flood like the mighty majestic river it once was. Itís forced to be something itís not, causing the Bosque problems.
Sometime in the year 2004 there was a fire that happened in the Bosque, a forested area along the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The cause of the fire was man-made. If we had let nature take its course and let the river flood, the land wouldn't have been dry. and the fire wouldn't have started.
"Itís been 65 years since the Rio Grande River has flooded," said Jeff Sipley. Jeff Sipley was our guest speaker in our English 11 class. He told us about the problems that were occurring in the Bosque and to the Rio Grande River. We learned about the Silvery Minnow, a crucial element in the food chain, which is now endangered. We have confined their breeding area by limiting the amount of water in the Rio Grande. But the most devastating part is that the Silvery Minnow has only gone endangered within the past fifty years or so by our doing.
To learn about what was happening to our world, I felt the need to help. I wanted to give back to Mother Nature as thanks to her for giving us life. It was early Thursday morning when our English 11 class went out to the Bosque. On our way there I was wondering what this place was going to look like. It was my first time going to the Bosque, so I was excited.
When we got there I was astounded by what I saw. All that was left from the fire was dead trees and natural litter, such as chipped wood. The air was thick and all I could smell was cedar. The dirt seemed so dry that no life was there or could ever be there, and all I heard were machines tearing up dead trees so that new trees could be planted.
As I looked around, I saw trees spread out evenly through commodious areas. Martin Martinez, a Bosque ranger with Albuquerque open space, was our teacher for the day. Jeff Sipley was there as well. Martin Martinez taught us about the wolfberries and how not only animals eat them but also people. He gave one to my friend Adrian to try. Apparently he liked it. "We are going to be planting New Mexico Olive Shrub," said Martin. There are fifty trees to plant and only thirteen people to plant them.
Each of us split into groups of two or more. There were five groups in all: Adrian and Jacob; Janet, Amanda and Lisa; Lulu and Edsel; Ms. Christy and our leaders; and my best friend, Nour, and myself. We each grabbed a shovel and picked a tree. Nour and I were both excited.
The first tree was hard for me since I didnít know what I was doing, until Jeff helped me out. Soon, I got the hang of it and before I knew it, we had planted five trees. I was so tired and hot that my face was burning red. I had to sit down to catch my breath and drink some water. That was when I overheard Jacob and Adrian bragging about how many trees they had planted. So Nour and I kicked it up a notch, making this a friendly competition. We were done with our ninth tree while the boys were starting their tenth. We looked around and saw that all fifty trees were planted! We may not have won the competition, but we gained the recognition of a job well done.
After that fun it was time for us to do a little nature walk through the Bosque. We were all tired and hot from how hard we worked, but we had the look of satisfaction on our faces. I was in a wonderful mood, and ready to go.
Our first stop was a little pond useless plants, that were sucking water from the ground. Around the pond were little seedlings of cotton trees. I was happy to see these because I knew that New Mexico was known for our cottonwoods. ďBecause the river is not allowed to flood, the cotton trees cannot germinate,Ē I remembered Jeff telling our class that when he came the day before, ďThe cotton that falls off the trees need to land in water, where it will stay there for a few weeks till the water is sucked into the ground along with the seeds.Ē I was glad to see that we were doing something that was helping them, instead of destroying them. Since the fire had burnt down the older ones, I knew that everything could go back to normal as long as we have the strength and the hands to help.
As I continued walking, I looked around at all the beauty that was there. I felt I was in the right place. We could hear the chirping of little baby birds coming from the nest of a Coopers Hawk. I searched the sky for the mom--perhaps she was flying around scavenging for food for her babies. It was as if I were in a National Geographic show as I looked around, I felt that this one little place on Earth was a small example of whatís happening in the world. With all the destruction, I wanted to help more and change what I could.
But I know that I canít do it by myself. When we were in the Bosque, I realized what a small band of thirteen people could do as a contribution to the environment, by planting fifty trees, we gave a small contribution to the Rio Grande Bosque, but if we unite, imagine what a whole community or a nation could do. Imagine what you can do! Iím truly glad to see we were trying to undo what we had done in the past because what twenty-six hands can do is amazing.
Date: January 4, 2009 ∑ Views: 4315 ∑ File size: 12.9kb, 58.1kb: 763 x 542 ∑
Hours Volunteered: 24
Volunteers: 8
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 to 17
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.5
Native Trees Planted: 50
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