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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Scripps Beach/Institute, UCSD, La Jolla, California, USA

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Scripps Beach/Institute, UCSD, La Jolla, California, USA


Registered: December 2009
City/Town/Province: fremont
Posts: 2
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As I dipped my feet into the majestic waters of La Jolla Shores, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, smelling the beautiful sea breeze and salinity of the ocean. I felt the cool wind whip across my face, whisking my long, inky-black hair violently behind me. I gently reopened my hazel eyes and stared at the water below me, expecting an aesthetic sapphire-tinted color. Instead, a wave of fear drenched my soul as I saw a dispersing cloud of ruby-red – the color of blood. My eyes followed the crimson shade as it spread and my eyes widened with trepidation as it fell onto the image of a suffering sea lion, struggling in anguish. The images of its ravaged torso haunted my memories as I remember each gash lining its stomach, each ripped piece of flesh barely holding together, and each agonizing breath it took as it slowly faded into eternal darkness. Panic rose in my voice as I screamed for my brother to get help, and hysteria overtook me as I fumbled around for my cell phone. Dropping my mobile device twice into the blood-soaked seawater, I frantically tried to seize it with my shaky hands from the clutches of the damp sand. Tears spilled from my eyes in a silvery river down my cheeks and into the ocean as I constantly screamed for help until my lungs were exhausted, throat was strained, and my voice faded along with the sea lion’s life. I was only eleven years old as I witnessed this horrific atrocity.
Each detail of that day was engraved deeply into the obsidian slate of my memories as I learned that a relentless propeller from a motor boat had taken the sea lion’s life away. As this event added fuel to the flames of my hatred for ocean pollution and animal endangerment and love for ocean and aquatic life protection, I assiduously sought out a prestigious college to attend with a firm stance on eco-friendly contributions. Carrying aspiration and optimism for improving the oceanic relationship shared by marine life and humanity, I enrolled in the esteemed University of California, San Diego. With many available marine research facilities, excellent biology departments, and close ties with the beach, I continually hope to study here in order to inspire others in the cause of protecting the ecosystem.
The auburn and golden colors of the spectrum enveloped the emerald-green dyes painting the leaves as I left with a research team in early August on a cruise off the shores of San Diego. Filled with excitement and enthusiasm, I aided the research team as I observed the investigative tactics of graduate students and staff on their illuminating expedition. The horizons surrounded us with beautiful azure water and I realized my heart had belonged to the ocean; it was my true calling. The expedition proved to be educationally stimulating as I watched in shock as every piece of trash was collected from the surface of the ocean piled cumulatively into a large stack. As I studied along the graduate students, discoveries were noted about the short lifespan of generations of marine life born on pieces of plastic or debris. The research team studied many aquatic organisms like pelagic crabs, small fish, and jellyfish found wedged between tangled nets or trapped in plastic bags. One student found a deceased lanternfish near the surface of the water despite this fish’s natural habitat lying close to the depths of the icy sea. This research cruise inspired me to continue marine research, take a firm stance, and apply strong actions against pollution in order to allow humanity to take its first steps in saving the ecosystem from forthcoming hazardous dangers.
As I planned out my project to aid the ecosystem in its recovery from pollution and other human-engineered disasters, I aspired to accomplish two endeavors: educating others and cleaning the three beaches surrounding the UCSD campus. With UCSD’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography, I was able to access countless records of information regarding the San Diego Bay. Through many months of grueling research and studying, I compiled an extensive research report to present the student body and faculty of UCSD. Briefly summarizing my presentation, I accumulated data regarding ocean temperatures, marine life, and statistics of recorded pollution levels. The moon was full and the night sky was the color of ebony as I walked into the expectant auditorium, eager to deliver my presentation. Drops of sweat fell down my nervous brow as I uneasily reached for the podium. Prior to this seminar, I was incredibly reticent and unable to speak well before large crowds. My mind flashed back to the dying sea lion and my fears washed away as I stepped up and spoke eloquently about a topic I firmly believed in. As the ocean connects directly with the ecosystem of the planet, I concluded that global warming affects the temperatures of the ocean and its hottest temperatures were recorded in the summer months of the past few years. Some organisms were unable to adapt to the rapidly changing temperatures and decreasing populations were recorded into the institute’s databases. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography also conducted an experiment with pink, EPA-approved dye marking the levels of pollution and the number seemed to rise indefinitely. With audacity and courage, I spoke out about the brutality I witnessed as I was eleven and how “the fate of that sea lion is tied to the future that mankind chooses. One can choose to live one’s life without regard to the world surrounding them until the last moment as it comes crashing down.” As the seminar ended, I presented everyone with a powerful ultimatum, “We can make this world anew or allow it to fall askew.”
The upcoming weekend, a group of inspired UCSD students followed me on a mission to clean the nearby beaches. The sun was ruthless as it beat harshly down on our backs and sweat slid slowly down my skin. Wiping away the frustration of my pained body, I persisted on, filling numerous bags with trash. Each step I trudged on the sand felt heavier with each passing minute, although the willpower I mustered prevailed over my yearning to surrender. My resolution to take affirmative action against pollution of our beaches was not the only derived from dying marine life and the potential demise of our ecosystem, but also my love and optimism for mankind. Black’s Beach…La Jolla Shores… Scripps Beach… As the sun receded and the night enshrouded us, encasing us in darkness, we finally dropped our plump garbage bags and sweat-covered litter sticks. Collapsing onto the powdery sand, I breathed a sigh of relief as I looked towards the calming waters of the San Diego shores. My exhausted hand grasped the sand below my fingertips and allowed the grains to flow between the cracks of my fingers. I clenched my hand tightly and halted the sprinkling of golden sand grains from escaping my palm. Flashes of my accomplishments that day flooded back to me in a crashing wave of bliss as I thought of the possible evolution of intelligence in humanity dawning upon the distant horizon.
Studying oceanography at UCSD’s acclaimed Scripps Institution was truly an honor because my mind was enriched with countless amounts of research collected on the marine ecosystem. Continuing down the highway of life with enthusiasm and passion, I aspire to continue my efforts to protect the ocean. With fervor and anticipation, I patiently await the impending years as I become a graduate student and can lead my own research expedition into the Pacific Ocean. Possibilities of underwater research thrilled my adventurous spirit as I aspire to study assiduously in UCSD and Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Though I am proud of our accomplishments of the painstaking beach clean-up, I’m aware of the miniscule act it was in relation to impacting the world. Scripps Institute is a world-famous oceanography facility with an influential voice in the United States, and I believe as I diligently work as a student and researcher, my voice will eventually be heard throughout every majestic pillar of society, causing an evolutionary leap for humanity.
Date: December 31, 2009 Views: 5231 File size: 37.6kb : 350 x 263
Hours Volunteered: 120
Volunteers: 28
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 18 to 30
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