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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Rainbow Valley, Buckeye, Arizona, USA

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Rainbow Valley, Buckeye, Arizona, USA
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Registered: September 2010
City/Town/Province: Buckeye
Posts: 1
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My Mom works for a Water and Electric Utility Company. At a very young age, I was taught to conserve water, electric and gas. I had to do such things as turning off the light when I left a room. Turn off the water while brushing my teeth. Along with that, I was taught never to litter. That is what trashcans are made for. That is one thing we never did in our house was litter. We especially never threw trash out the car or truck window. If we did, we would have to hear my Mom’s Bill Cosby story about how she had to pick up trash for 7 miles on her Senior Skip Day. One day my Dad for whatever reason opened the truck window and threw his candy wrapper out. All of a sudden, he had the most worry look on his face. As he released the candy wrapper, he knew he made a huge mistake. My Mom looked at him with a look that could kill! She proceeded to tell the story on how her and her friends were caught skipping school and there punishment was to pick up garbage along the road for 7 miles. She stated she was actually glad that she was caught and had to pick up trash, because she was so disgusted to see what people threw out their window. She vowed from that day forward she would never litter again! Along with that, she made sure that everyone around her would do the same. I took that vow with her because I knew how important it was to her and to the environment.
My Mom was talking to this woman at a school function. Her name was Kiara Mitchell and she adopted the highway in our community Rainbow Valley. She does road cleanups 2 to 3 times a year. Our community consists of about three-square miles surround by Sonora Desert. Each property is an acre to 10-acre parcels. She was asking my Mom if should would like to volunteer and help. Of course, my Mom said yes. She told Kiara that I would help as well. I could always use community service hours for my Honor Society club and College applications. Kiara was excited to hear that I would help. She told me she wishes she could get more kids involved, but they never seem to come out and help. I decided this would be a great opportunity to help our community. I told Kiara I would do what I could to get kids to volunteer to help with the road cleanup.
I got on my computer, emailed all my friends, and asked if they could come and help with the road cleanup. Furthermore, I explained that they could get community service hours for volunteering. I was able to get about 20 kids to help. We all met at the school where Kiara told me to meet. Kiara was able to get us orange vest, orange garbage bags, gloves, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. We were ready to start cleaning. We split up into four groups with one adult and each group had an area to clean up. After we were done, we were to meet at the school for a little get together with drinks and snacks.
I could not believe what some people would throw on the side of the road. I felt like I was becoming my own Mother! I understand now what she must of went through back when she had to pick up garbage. There were areas that look like dumping grounds. All of this was on the Sonora Desert side of Rainbow Valley. People threw away beds, kitchen sinks, toilets, just plain garbage and even a boat! In front of this whole area was a sign that said, “NO DUMPING”. A lot of good that sign did. We worked on this area and others all day long. There was a sense of pride running through me. I really felt like I was helping the community and the environment.
After we were done, we all met back at the school. None of us could wait to tell each other about their day of road cleanup. We sat there drinking our drinks and eating our snacks as we told our stories. Kiara Mitchell thanked all of us kids for our help and personally thanked me for getting them to volunteer. She counted that between the adults and kids 80 orange bags of trash were collected. Some of the most common items found amongst all of us were bags of garbage, beer bottles and cans of all kinds, beer boxes, diapers, broken boards, car parts and tires. The worst thing about all of this is that the dump is only 8 miles down the road. I would think if the items were already in their vehicle to be thrown out the window, I would think they could just drive a little further to the dump.
The other thing that I ran across while performing the road cleanup was seeing graffiti everywhere I had no idea that our little area of Rainbow Valley contained so much graffiti. Unfortunately, the words that were written on the walls, buildings and signs were not ones I would repeat and to think schoolchildren had to walk by some of the bad ones on the way to the bus stop. My Dad runs a Paint Store in Goodyear, Arizona. He saw the graffiti as well as I since he was the adult that was with my group. I asked him if we could get some paint from the store and cover up the graffiti. He thought that was a wonderful idea. I went around and took pictures of the graffiti to get an idea of what colors of paint we needed to cover up. Some of the graffiti were on Arizona Road Signs. My Mom found a number where I could call and get the signs replaced. I called and they came out and changed all of the signs out. My Dad and I went around and painted over all of the graffiti. I was so happy to get the graffiti covered up. I am sure parents of the children walking to the bus stop were happy as well. It made me feel great that my Dad and I did something on our own to help the community. It is a shame that people have no respect for the community or the desert they live in. I cannot imagine people actually living like this in their own house.
This has been a life changing experience for me. I have always felt that I conserved water, electric and gas. I have always felt that I followed in my Mom footsteps and made sure garbage was put in its place called the trashcan. However, after going through the road cleanup and then the graffiti cleanup, I feel I am a much better person. When I get out on my own and have my own place to live, I know I will get involved in road cleanups and graffiti cleanups. If there is not on organization already doing this, I will start one. I know that cleaning up the roads helps the environment. By cleaning up it, helps protect animals from getting hurt or sick. Animals can get cut on the broken glass or small animals can get their heads stuck in cans and die. Some of the animals will eat the food that was thrown away and get sick. Some items such as oil can hurt the environment. Some chemicals can seep down into the water table and make us all sick. Unfortunately, many of the items that get thrown on the side of the road are long-lasting items that take years to decompose. A glass bottle takes about one million years to decompose; an aluminum can takes between 200-500 years. Plastics float in waterways, plugging streams and killing fish. However, I think the biggest advantage of cleaning up the roads and graffiti is it makes the desert beautiful for my generation and the next to enjoy!
Date: December 31, 2010 Views: 6256 File size: 16.5kb, 157.1kb : 319 x 390
Hours Volunteered: 80
Volunteers: 20
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 12 to 17
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