Chem. River Project Essay, Research Paper
The Consumnes River Habitat Restoration Project appealed to me for several reasons. I
wanted to work on a project. I wanted to work outdoors if possible. My time frame is
complicated, so the date of the Restoration Project was very appealing. But mostly,
because I like to learn by example. I knew I would get more out of it personally if I
participated rather then spend time researching a paper. Besides, it was close to home.
The Consumnes River Preserve is dedicated to safeguarding the streamside
ecosystem and surrounding habitats of the Consumnes River. The Consumnes is the only
undammed river on the western side of the Sierras, flowing through the central valley
before merging with the Mokelumne River and the San Joaquin Delta. They have restored
and created freshwater wetlands and educate us all in proper ecologically sound use.
Our quest for the day was to plant willow trees. Much of the Valley oak forest
had been cleared for farming. Our planting is to ensure the regeneration of oaks and other
native species. On this day, it was willows. We arrived early, to get a good idea of what
was ahead. We were met by a ranger and several educated volunteer leaders. After a
short walk to the planting area, we were showed the proper method of planting the willow
branches. Did you know there was an up? We grouped off and set off into the marsh.
One of the best parts of the day was meeting several of our classmates, we formed a little
group with several shovels, lots of twigs and started walking. The trees were all to be
planted 20 feet apart so we trekked into the area to be planted. And quickly sank to our
ankles in very cold water. Let the fun begin! We laughed, several complained vigorously,
and proceeded to plant our trees. We tried several methods and quickly found that if one
used the shovel to dig the hole, others could insert the branch and fill in the mud and pat it
back down. Sounds easy, I know. But try finding earth that is movable with just a shovel.
At times we resorted to others tools to break the ground first. A learning experience or all
of us. When we had finished planting our trees, a classmate and I went for a walk to take
in the quiet beauty of this place. We found huge flocks of white swans and watched in
awe as they took off for flight.
Now back to Environmental Chemistry. We learned in class that we the people of
planet Earth, need to help repair the damage we have caused. Deforested areas, such as
those along the Consumnes River, can be replanted. Currently, our book states, that the
total quantity of carbon dioxide released by human activities and burning of fossil fuels is
6-7 billion metric tons per year. Half being recycled into the oceans and biosphere. The
balance remains in the atmosphere as CO2 (pg. 88). The answer is change. We need to
plant more trees. Stop cutting down the forest land we currently have. And learn to
carpool, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
I will return to the Consumnes River Project. I had a GREAT time. We laughed,
froze, and felt like we had spent our day doing something useful. The only
recommendation for future participants is waders. I had layered my clothes, which was a
good idea, and wore sturdy walking shoes, which promptly became very wet. Galoshes,
which they brought out after I was all wet were a good idea. Maybe ask for them in
advance. Just go and plan on having a good time
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