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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Sims Bayou, Houston, Texas, USA

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Sims Bayou, Houston, Texas, USA
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Registered: November 2010
City/Town/Province: Katy
Posts: 1
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Apprentice Ecologist Project Essay: Sims Center

The first time I went camping was with my parents, when I was two years old. Since then, nature has profoundly impacted my life; I quickly grew to love the invigorating rush of my whipping hair as I skimmed the surface of a lake in my kayak, the empowering triumph of reaching the peak of a mountain after a long hike, even the all-encompassing tranquility of a walk through the neighborhood park. Each canoe expedition, trip to the beach, or afternoon in the park incurred within me a greater appreciation for nature and its free, unbridled beauty, something for everybody to enjoy. However, as I grew older, I began to notice an abuse of nature. Things permissible to my younger self, like trash floating in the bayou or trees being cut down, became an important issue to which I became very passionate. I became aware of a frightening plausibility as I began to recognize the degenerative state of my surrounding environment. If many people donít make significant changes to their damaging habits and passive attitudes, a time may arrive when the onset of pollution and destruction surpasses the environmentís threshold of sustainability, creating a world in which natureís charms will be forever lost.
In my second year of high school, a friend and I had the opportunity to create a school club, called Taylor Goes Green, which allowed us to meet with students who shared our concerns for the environment and who supported our goal to promote eco-friendly practices. We had a fund-raiser in which we sold aluminum water bottles with our school mascot printed on them and used the funds to adopt animals at the Houston Zoo, where we also volunteered. I was really excited when my mom told me about the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative Youth Scholarship Program, and was eager to plan a project that I could write about. My friend and I discussed the volunteer possibilities for our club, and came across the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, a small one-acre nature preserve located on the outskirts of downtown Houston, with a barn, gardens, a pond, boat dock, and wetland trails. Associated with the Houston Audubon Society, Sims strives to revitalize damaged areas and to promote childrenís education and awareness of environmental issues, and to teach means of preservation and restoration. This was immediately very attractive to me because of the organizationís obvious passion for nature; they shared my exact ideals and goals.
I was thrilled to plan a volunteer trip to Sims, and eagerly met about 15 of my fellow club members there early on a Saturday morning to begin the revitalization of the garden in preparation for a Bayou Buddies event, hosted by Sims, where local children come to participate in arts and crafts and other activities which teach them about nature. In order to halt the encroaching weeds which were slowly dominating the gardenís plants, we layed out recycled newspapers and re-mulched, providing an environmentally friendly method for eliminating weeds. We also painted the fence and the sign and cleared branches and logs from the forest trails. Not long after, we returned to Sims to volunteer at the Bayou Buddies gathering. I was so honored to be participating in the event, because I could directly influence the minds of these young children by teaching them the value of their planet and the precautions which they must take to protect it; I felt like I myself was making a difference for the promotion of a more preserved, pristine future, and that means very, very much to me. Although I technically was the volunteer, lending my time to Sims, I truly feel that the opportunities that the nature center has given me are invaluable. I continue to volunteer there, and each time infallibly makes me feel happier and more fulfilled than the previous!
Date: November 14, 2010 ∑ Views: 3314 ∑ File size: 34.4kb, 114.3kb: 604 x 453 ∑
Hours Volunteered: 60
Volunteers: 10
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 15 to 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.4
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Registered: November 2010
City/Town/Province: NAIROBI
Posts: 1
November 30, 2010 7:07am

I'm so touched to know that my fellow youth not only in Africa but all over the world have the reason to preserve our environment, may God bless you abundantly.