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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Pacuare, San Jose, Costa Rica

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Pacuare, San Jose, Costa Rica
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Registered: November 2009
Posts: 1
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At the age of six, while playing Barbies and Legos with the girls in my neighborhood, I did not have aspirations of a career in Environmental Engineering. I did know, however, that I wanted to build. My favorite childhood memories revolve around constructing giant Lego structures with my brother. Out of these random blocks we created magnificent structures from castles to bridges. For many years, I thought architecture was my calling. I pursued drafting classes and began looking at architecture schools. Then, unexpectedly, a very special experience changed my course entirely.

As I prepared for a volunteer trip to Costa Rica in the spring of 2009, I had no idea that my life goals were about to change. The plan was to travel to the small Central American country and work with a marine biologist to help protect Leatherback Sea Turtles from predators and poachers. By the time I returned home from a week in this inspiring setting, I knew that Environmental Engineering was my passion. The events that took place during that week will be etched in my mind and heart forever.

I have always been interested in protecting our environment and our natural resources, but I was never sure how I could make a substantial difference. Sure, I recycle, drive a fuel-efficient car, and help in my community, but until last spring, I did not see the whole picture. My visit to Costa Rica was without question a pivotal point in my life, primarily because it clarified this “whole picture.” On the fourth day of my trip, I saw first hand the devastation humans inflict on an unprotected ecosystem in a country without laws and systems in place to care for the world’s natural resources. We visited a point where the Atlantic Ocean meets a small river to see the effects of garbage on the turtles. Once we were there, I was appalled. Not only was the water a polluted brown color, there was dirty debris floating everywhere and the entire beach was covered in garbage. This once gorgeous beach looked like a dump. There were needles, beer cans, shoes, clothing; everything you can imagine was strewn across the beach. Our goal was to collect 50 pounds of garbage to carry back to the main road for pick up by the bus. Once we began collecting the garbage, we realized how easily we would reach our goal. We collected over 50 pounds of garbage and were unable to haul out anymore. This moment was my awakening; I realized that underdeveloped countries are unaware of their effects on the environment and eventually, this ignorance will result in the devastation of many of the world’s natural resources. I also became immediately aware of a privilege I have that I had never thought about before. In America, one has the chance to be environmentally friendly and cautious; from fuel-efficient cars to compost centers, we all have a chance to protect the environment. Citizens of underdeveloped countries do not. These people do not have local recycling programs or pollution controlling manufacturing plants.

On the filthy beach that day, something clicked. My old dreams of building fused with this new passion to help our environment. Through a career in Environmental Engineering, I want to help make these opportunities more available for other countries and their people. This is the only job and life pursuit I can imagine that will give me the opportunity to incorporate sustainability, promote prosperity, and do so with the same passion I have held since childhood for constructing something out of nothing.
· Date: December 31, 2009 · Views: 3594 · File size: 33.2kb, 1903.7kb · : 2048 x 1536 ·
Hours Volunteered: 480
Volunteers: 16
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 and 15 to 30
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.4
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 22.5
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