A California Teen Taking Care of the Town’s Invasive Species

In a rural California community, a teen has set out to help rid of an invasive species along the river that borders their town. She writes, 

“A problem that I have recently observed is the massive amount of weeds there are in the river. Based on the stories that go around town, a certain woman thought they were pretty plants so she put some in the river. After some research, I have found that these invasive water plants are called water hyacinths.”

“These invasive water plants have small seeds that can easily spread, making the plant very invasive to bodies of water. In the river, the water hyacinths have spread across to where boats or kayaks may have a hard time crossing. Not only does this plant provide a danger to people, but also to the fish in the river. According to the Prarie Research Institute, when the fall arrives, the hyacinths will die, falling to the bottom of the river, taking the oxygen with them. This puts the river wildlife in danger as they do not have enough oxygen to survive. The environment is put in danger when the water hyacinths are free to spread. “

“These combined reasons are why I would like to do something about the situation. Seeing the river every time I passed over the bridge overhead, I would look at the damage that the weeds were inflicting. Every time I would pass over the bridge, it seemed as if the weeds had spread even farther. I felt pain for the environment every time I saw the weeds as I knew that nothing was being done to stop it. Prior attempts had only made the situation worse. I took it upon myself to see how I could present a project that would clean up my river. Protecting my town motivated me to start the project of removing the invasive weed of water hyacinth. “

“The long-term goal of this project hopes to create a better mindset for the people of my town. By bringing people together to help better the environment, their perspective can change the way they view the world. This goal intends to change the minds of individuals to start caring about the environment and to also have them realize that however small they may be, they can make a change.” 

Her community outreach project is incredibly impressive and we are looking forward to seeing how it continues to unfold over the next few months.

Photo by Pixabay

A Nebraska Teen Set To Making A Difference In His Community

Today’s scholarship highlight is a teen in Nebraska trying hard to make a difference in his community. He writes, 

“My community is a private high school composed of students from middle and upper-middle-class families. I have observed not only a shortage of awareness of sustainability issues but also a lack of self-awareness of our contribution to the problem. In a community that has a stated mission of “caring for a common home”, we seem to be falling short in this aspect.”

“My solution is to increase the awareness of environmental issues in our community, I’m deeply interested in the issue of sustainability. I’m on the leadership team of a local group called a Students for Sustainability. We organize events to raise awareness for sustainability, and bring together environmental groups from around Omaha.  I designed a solar energy and electric vehicle charger project to bring attention to these issues and start conversations. As the president of the Sustainability Club since my sophomore year, I am implementing new practices such as composting, pollinator gardens, and Earth Day activities.”

“I’ve been interested in sustainability for a very long time now. I really wanted to create a lasting impact on my school’s sustainability. Educating the student body has been a main driver for pushing these initiatives forward.”

This student is inspiring not only his hometown, but all of us reading his story. With his first feedback form, he submitted three or four different ideas on scholarship submissions, each of them just as impressive as the other. We urged him to choose one project to stick with for the final submission, and he did just that. We can see his passion shine through, and we cannot wait to see where it takes him! Regardless of how far he goes in the scholarship program, his local high school and community have already benefitted from him tenfold, and that’s what we love seeing.