Service Project Reflection

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 2:38pm

Two months ago, I was trekking through the Cedar River Watershed in Seattle, Wash. I was delighted to be spending a week of my summer with fellow Roots & Shoots Youth Leaders at the 2011 Youth Leadership Retreat. Every year, the retreat offers valuable training through workshops and service. This year’s service project in Seattle allowed Youth Leaders to study the effectiveness of local watershed conservation projects. Currently, participants are developing a PSA from the video footage that we captured during our visit.

As I sift through the footage, I am fondly remembering my day of service with the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed. I remember volunteers from the community telling us about the extensive work being done to restore and conserve parts of the watershed. I remember how quickly we learned the difference between the native tree species. In no time, we were identifying western red cedars, western hemlocks, Douglas-firs AND grading each sapling on its health.

The Cedar River Watershed is a critical source of drinking water for more than one million people in the Seattle area. The watershed also provides habitat for salmon and countless other species. By surveying the terrain, Youth Leaders were able to provide valuable information that is being used to assess the success of habitation restoration efforts.

My experience in the Cedar River wilderness has changed the way that I think about my environment. After a day’s work, I have learned to better appreciate my local watersheds (the Buffalo River Watershed and the Candlewood Lake Watershed) and the ecosystems that allow them to thrive. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to the sustainable future of the Cedar River Watershed. I am certain that the other Roots & Shoots Youth Leaders were as inspired as I was and I am proud to think that they now have the same passion for their own watersheds (all over the U.S.!).

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