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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Rancho Murieta, California, USA

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Rancho Murieta, California, USA
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Paul222



Registered: April 2010
City/Town/Province: Rancho Murieta
Posts: 1
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Essay for Nicodemus Wilderness Project:


Mother Nature Needs to Be Nurtured, Too
by Paul F. Sundermeyer Visions In Education (VIE) San Juan Unified School District

My respect and appreciation for nature and protecting the earth’s environment has always been close to my heart. I’m a high school sophomore with an unquenchable enthusiasm for environmental journalism; my goal is to “raise eco-awareness,” and hopefully inspire and motivate others to take better care of the planet we all share. Awareness is, after all, what fuels creativity and, without it, there can be no change.
Unfortunately, in our fast changing world, where life is often cursory or rushed it’s easy to lose awareness of our surroundings. Put another way, when eco-awareness is lost so is our connection to nature and to our environment. When we destroy nature we destroy ourselves. The innate intelligence and beauty of nature is a part of us; it does not rest idly around us. Most importantly, if we are to protect America's natural resources, maintain our national treasures and cultural heritage, we must share a collective awareness, as well as work collectively.
I’m an avid believer that mother nature has an uncanny way of evoking memories and keeping us acutely aware of our present, our past, and our future. I’m also a believer in human nature, and that deep inside every human being there is a healthy curiosity; the desire to start fresh and to replace old ideas with new ones. With that said, the research and interviews I garnered for this essay are meant to enlighten, and provide a glimpse into different people’s perspectives, passions, and beliefs about what can be done to improve our relationship with mother nature.
Here’s some of the ways I’ve improved my relationship with mother nature. I’ve become water wise, and created a sustainable drought-resistant front yard. I put my front yard on a H2O diet, by using river rocks, bark, and drought tolerant plants, such as feather reed grass and English lavender. In my home garden everything is eatable; I’ve found environmentally friendly ways to fight insects, weeds and other pests, rather than bathe them in a deluge of pesticides and herbicides. The central problem with modern agriculture is it produces unhealthy food and overuses and mishandles deleterious chemicals. Plants are not stagnant or passive; they have an array of sophisticated sensory abilities to fend-off predators, and when toxic chemicals are used it’s a calumny to mother nature.
Linda Walling, plant biologist at the University of California, Riverside, takes the position that even though plants can’t run away from a threat, they can stand their ground and are highly skilled at avoiding getting eaten. “Genes in the plant’s DNA are activated to wage systemwide chemical warfare, the plant’s version of an immune response,” Dr. Walling said in a recent interview with Natalie Angier, who writes for The New York Times.
Without a doubt, there’s a deep satisfaction and pleasure that comes from eating the purest, freshest, most flavorful herbs, fruits and vegetables nature has to offer. Growing an organic garden is liberating, and has both ecological and human benefits. It’s a win-win.
Another way I improved my relationship with mother nature was prompted by my concern over the decline of honeybees. My solution was to grow drought-tolerant plants, (white sage, giant buckwheat, and golden currant) with a bonus: they attract honeybees and even butterflies. For that reason, my garden collects the welcome buzz of honeybees, instead of the pesky Valley carpenter bees that punch holes in the bottom of flowers and steal nectar without pollination. Scientists are finding honeybees and hives laden with pesticides; they are concerned because of the vital role bees play in our food supply. About one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees. I also have nesting habitats for the Tufted Tit mouse and hummingbirds that benefit wildlife.
I continue to work at reducing my carbon footprint and so does my family. We use energy efficient lighting and Energy Star windows and appliances. We reduce paper waste (paperless bills), don’t use plastic food containers or bottled water, keep computers in power-saving mode, and buy online to save trips to the store, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Like I said earlier, mother nature has an uncanny way of evoking memories, and for Paul Moss, horticulturist and artisan landscape designer, the sights and sounds of nature come together in a concerto conducted by nature. I spoke with Moss at his office in Rancho Murieta where he has been a landscape supervisor for 23 years. He winsomely recalled family trips to Idaho, and felt those experiences ignited his love and respect for nature, and strengthened, what is now, an inseparable connection to nature. For Moss, just being in nature, often makes him dance around his memories like a young child. He said his early life experiences were what ultimately inspired him to pursue a career in horticulture.
“Unfortunately, at times,” he paused and said humbly, “I simply can’t do enough to help the environment in Rancho Murieta. The populace don’t clearly understand the implications of water waste and pesticide run off from golf courses and lawns.” Moss further piqued my interest when he averred: “We are a quick fix society. For all the convenience we indulge in, there is a hidden cost of pesticide run off into our water, as well as wastefulness of water.” He explained that people often want nature to be too perfect, and instead of “embracing natures imperfections they force unnatural beauty using unnecessary chemicals.”
What we can all learn from Moss is that we need to embrace “nature’s wisdom.” His nuanced observations clearly underscore the fact that we need good information if we are to make good choices. Most of us don’t have a clear understanding of the wide spread destruction that complacency and carelessness have on the environment. We tend to think our actions don’t affect things outside our own homes, when in actuality, every action affects an unimaginably vast amount of the environment. “Throw it away,” is a common refrain and quandary. Exactly where is away? Do we every really throw things away?
Perhaps we must accept nature for what it is, and not force our own image of perfection upon it. Nature may seem imperfect; however, any notion that we can control nature, push it out of our way, or make it better is sheer arrogance. If life is supposed to teach life lessons, then maybe it’s this: We need to stay connected to nature if we want to live in harmony with it, which means accepting nature as it is. Perfect.
At the end of our interview, Moss made another insightful and heartfelt comment. “Hope for the environment lies with future generations, he said. “We need to transfer awareness to our children, they are the future of the environment.”
To Gary Hart, a nature photographer living California, capturing natures art work is what he loves best. “I like to find an image that connects people to their forgotten past or whatever unknown longing might motivate them,” he added in an e-mail interview.
Hart has a keen eye for detail, and his photographs are a celebration of nature, and a reminder that we all must do our part to help mother earth look her best for years to come. His pictures have an air of elegance, and resonate with great force what we all unconsciously yearn for. And, that is, a connection to nature. He captures the kind of beauty I thought existed only in the imagination. His body of work contains an array of vivid images that will cause you to pause
and reflect on the grandness of nature. They are an invariable feast for the eyes and the soul.
“People are often so adsorbed in their daily lives that they become oblivious to the beauty surrounding them,” Hart wrote.
Hart genuinely appreciates wildlife in it natural habitat and is a protector of nature. Asked if he believed people’s careless destruction of nature causes the destruction of human and natural history, he replied, “Unfortunately our fragile natural history is far more easily destroyed than restored. Some examples of tragic but irreplaceable losses are Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, and Glen Canyon (now Lake Powell) in Utah.”
Hart concluded with a thought provoking statement that was inspiring to me. “The world is a poorer place for these losses and I’d like to think that we’ve learned enough from these tragedies not to repeat them. When we treat nature cavalierly we risk eliminating an essential but often taken for granted source of basic human wellbeing.” What stood out for me about Moss and Hart is their indefatigable determination and passion for mother earth, and
their heightened level of awareness and connection to the environment. Appreciation and respect for mother nature is shown in their day-to-day actions.
Why? Because they are fully “aware” that mother nature needs to be nurtured, too.
· Date: May 18, 2010 · Views: 3006 · File size: 26.4kb, 195.3kb · : 1181 x 850 ·
Hours Volunteered: 31
Volunteers: 3
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 30 to 50
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