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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Mahwah, New Jersey, USA

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Mahwah, New Jersey, USA
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Registered: December 2009
City/Town/Province: Mahwah
Posts: 1
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In the summer of 2008 I developed a great love for nature and the sport of hiking. In my town of Mahwah, New Jersey is the 3,313 acre Ramapo Valley County Reservation, which contains miles of hiking trails. I spent more time in the Reservation climbing over vast distances of mountain terrain or crunching my way under the canopies of trees, then I did at my own house. I loved spending my time immersed in the quiet solitude of nature. Nothing seemed to be able to break me away from the emerald green trees and seemingly endless miles of hiking trails. The more time I spent immersed in nature, hiking at the reservation, the more I fell in love with the beauty, solitude, and peacefulness of the natural environment. As the summer passed by day after day, I began to take notice of the one thing that seemed foreign to the beautiful world of beauty and solitude I spent so much time in. Plastic bags, bottles, and containers seemed to be everywhere I went no matter how many miles from people or civilization I hiked. The eyesore never stopped appearing, showing up again and again poisoning and disrupting the untouched natural beauty of the forest. I would pick up each piece of plastic I saw and store it away in my backpack intent on removing the invasive piece of trash from the beautiful forest. From the very first discarded plastic water bottle I collected, a burning question began to develop in my mind and grew more with each plastic piece I gathered. I began to think, “What effect did this trash have on the forest I enjoyed and what could I do to help protect this natural world?” This question grew into an idea, which developed into an experience that changed my life.
That summer of 2008, I founded an environmental volunteer organization in my home town of Mahwah, New Jersey. I created it from a tiny idea in my mind, a speck of a dream and desire to start a global movement for environmental protection. It is a youth led and managed organization called the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization (M.E.V.O.) consisting of over two hundred and sixty volunteers to date, most of which are teenagers in Northern New Jersey High Schools. With my best friend Sam and I as the only two founding volunteers, I set out to build M.E.V.O. from the ground up. Over several months: I emailed the mayor of my town about town, state, and national laws, created a friendship between M.E.V.O. and the Mahwah Environmental Commission, ran volunteer recruitment drives, applied for a grant with Youth Venture, built a website, developed a volunteer e-mailing system, established a group of trustworthy and passionate friends as leadership for the organization, organized countless pollution clean-ups, recycling drives, tree plantings, group hikes, court appearances to support environmental issues, public event booths, CFL light bulb distributions, and press interviews. Last but not least, I developed contacts with many environmental organizations and officials with whom M.E.V.O. and I organized many events. Some of these organizations are: The Mahwah Department of Public Works, Mahwah Environmental Commission, New Jersey State Botanical Gardens, Darlington Ridge Condominium Association, Principa NP,, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, and As well I worked to have M.E.V.O. formally recognized as a partner organization by Youth Venture, Mahwah High School Environmental Club, and Mahwah High School Interact Club.
As M.E.V.O. developed into a reality, I changed into an environmental activist. My life took a fast turn into a whole new direction; I started thinking about how much energy I consumed every day and how much plastic, paper, and metal I could recycle throughout my everyday life. I stopped playing video games and instead spent most of my time outside involving myself in any environmental activity I could. I volunteered my time with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC) and set a precedent in changing the organizations, “adult only,” policy and became the first seventeen year old trail maintainer in the organization’s ninety year history. I became an active member of the Mahwah High School’s Environmental Club and was accepted as a member of the Mahwah Environmental Commission’s subcommittee known as the “Green Team.” This green team is working to make Mahwah a sustainable community certified by Sustainable Jersey. I raised over $1,200 dollars for the NYNJTC to repair hiking trails in Bear Mountain State Park. From the moment I founded M.E.V.O. my life changed, I had finally found my passion in life.
This one experience of my life changed my life to be what it is today. It turned me into an environmental activist and made me into a very enthusiastic and motivated leader. I found something that I feel very strongly about and pursue with everything I do and will do throughout my life. The foundation of the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization is the most significant and important experience of my life to date. It opened my eyes and ignited my passion for a new direction in my life.
Date: December 31, 2009 Views: 10307 File size: 26.9kb, 807.3kb : 2500 x 1875
Hours Volunteered: 1350
Volunteers: 270
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 14 to 55
Native Trees Planted: 110
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