Camping with EarthTeam, a student perspective

IMG_7043

I went camping with my fellow EarthTeam interns from other schools from the bay area. It was my first time camping so I was already excited weeks before.

I met new faces I had to introduce myself to them. As a group, we played some games as icebreakers. During the hike, I was thinking of how I am so ignorant about plants and my surroundings. I wished that I knew more about nature so that I could better understand it and so that I won’t hesitate much about touching plants and flowers. I wondered how the hike would have been if I knew at least about the common plants.

IMG_7062

I enjoyed the hike, regardless. The excitement got me jumping left and right on the uneven ground although I know that I could have just walked normally, so I had to tie my shoelaces again and again. I was thinking that I was a ninja in training.

I realized that I have two dream places to live in the future: near the cliff by the sea, or in the woods by a lake.

When we finally got to our camping site, we set up our tents and I got along with the other schools’ interns all right. There was a circle of people by the spot where the fire will be made and I joined them to chop a wood to get some slivers for kindling. We took our turns chopping. That was fun. I’d do that again if I have to.

The campfire was lit when the sun had gone away. We played games by the campfire and had a sing-off. We ate s’mores. I borrowed a flashlight from my fellow intern, Allana, and shined the flashlight at my feet. There were insects, and I don’t have a clue about what they were except for a ladybug that conceals itself as a small pebble when gently touched. I wondered what male ladybugs are called. Probably a ladybug. There were also insects that had long bodies.They crawled really quick and they were so fascinating to watch. I decided to leave them alone after watching them for a while.

I slept earlier than most people, but I woke up once in a while. In the middle of the night, it rained, and then it rained harder. My shoes were outside, soaking wet, but I did not bother to take them inside. It was really cold and I was freezing. After some more short naps and blinks, the rain subsided and I decided to start my day.

IMG_7106

I looked at the tall trees outside and noted how they sway. The branches swayed in all directions but the trees swayed in one. The eucalyptus trees that pointed to the sky looked familiar. The winds sounded so familiar. I can’t really tell why so I just looked at the trees and appreciated the beauty of the morning.

The bus ride home was the most tiring part of the trip. Only then did I realize that my body was sore and that I had to go back to reality.

Alameda Hits the Ground Running, a student summary.

IMG_6806

When I look back on our first experiences with Earth Team, I am happy to say it was an amazing introduction to what we are going to be doing in the future and how we will be helping our community. Our focus, made clear from the very start, was to work towards a safer marine environment by cleaning up harmful trash and preventing further degradation of the marine ecosystem.

It seemed like such a daunting task for such a small group of people, but we learned otherwise. We were taught so much in such a short amount of time about the topic, and our team became such a cohesive unit in the process. We learned about the lifespan of each individual piece of trash, and how even the trash you dont throw away on land will eventually turn up in the oceans through sewage systems. In one instance we did a survey of how much trash is around our school, and for me personally I thought we were a generally clean school; in just two hours we found over a thousand pieces of trash!!!

I was horrified and surprised, it had really opened up my eyes to how big of a problem trash really is. We were shown how some of the world’s most beautiful wildlife is killed or somehow negatively impacted by marine debris, sending a clear message about how important our work here is. And the amazing thing about it is…..IT’S SO MUCH FUN!!!!

We have grown so close to each other, and every meeting brings something new and exciting! At the moment, we are working in different small groups approaching solving our trash problem in different ways, such as through videos or posters and the like. Yet we all still collaborate together as our processes continually overlap. We are all working towards one single goal, and it really helps when we are working in such a positive and supportive environment earth team provides us with. I know that may sound a bit cheesy, but it really is the truth!

I am glad in every way I made the choice to join, and I’m even overjoyed in how many other schools are working towards the same goals in different ways. I am positive and  optimistic in the fact that our small team here in alameda is going to make a difference, even in our first few weeks here we have all acquired lifeskills and information that we will carry on into the future. One I am sure will be useful in really any way you look at it is backwards planning: a process where we have a goal, and we work backwards figuring out how to get to that goal figuring all the way back to what we need to do it. This really shows how this is an internship for a reason, and we aren’t just learning about facts, but we are learning real applicable skills for the future. I hope the coming weeks are as productive as our first few!

-Kyle A.