August 15, 2010

Hello fellow Shipmates,

Wow! It is mid August already…where has time gone? I never expected this summer to pass by so quickly but at least it has been a summer I will never forget. grin So what have you guys been up to? Has your summer been a summer you won’t forget too? Have you had a chance to do any outdoor activities, like camping or hiking yet? I’d love to hear about it. Or maybe you have gone to a museum, hung out with your Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops or attended a summer camp. If you have, please make sure to comment below. It makes me so happy to hear what everyone else is up to.

As for KTFBT (Kids Today for a Better Tomorrow), we have been busy little beavers. grin A group of us just recently headed out to a local Southern Californian forest to conduct a wilderness trail & river clean up. We went to a special place that us locals call Azusa Canyon, which is up in the San Gabriel Mountains. I was so happy to go because it was suggested by one of our KTFBT families, The Salazars. I thought it was very cool of them to have contacted us with their concerns.

They were very sad because they had gone up there a week before for a family trip but were sooo disappointed to have arrived only to be surrounded by trash and debris. Their dad, Peter, said that he had been going to Azusa Canyon for over 20 years even with his own father and it disgusted him how people had just abused and trashed one of his favorite places. It made him sad. So of course after talking with the Salazars, I spoke with our KTFBT members and we all agreed this forest was in need of our help. This forest is just as important as any forest but is very special in its own way. For instance, the San Gabriel Mountains’ wrinkled slopes and wildly lush canyons are also home to very special creatures. It is the habitat and playground of many rare and endangered species, like the Nelson’s bighorn sheep, mountain yellow-legged frogs, Santa Ana sucker fish and Pacific pond turtles. (And as you all know… turtles are dear to my heart grin

So quick as a flash (okay maybe not that fast but still within days), we were ready to go out and help restore the Salazars’ favorite family spot to its former glory. I couldn’t wait. The drive up there was beautiful.

All sorts of different trees surrounded us. Some tall, some short, some skinny, some fat, but each and every one of them beautiful in their own way. We also saw the San Gabriel reservoir (which is a man-made lake with a dam that collects the water of the many rivers that flow through the mountains). It was just beautiful.

When we finally got to the trail alongside the river we were amazed by how beautiful it was. I wouldn’t have even known this place was there if we hadn’t walked down into the canyon to find it. It was just great!!! We could only hear the sounds of nature all around us. The sound of the fast flowing river was so beautiful. I wish I’d had my recorder so I could take the sounds home with me, but it’s okay because I can still close my eyes and hear them when I focus on remembering.  The river’s water was crystal clear, just like drinking water. I wish you could have been there. It is so wonderful to see such naturally beautiful places in nature.  

Now, here is the horrible part. There was TRASH EVERYWHERE…and yes, I mean everywhere. It was in the trees alongside the river, and down all of the trails.  Anywhere I turned seemed to be more and more trash. People even had left their old furniture down there. Errrrr!!! I was so mad. I mean come on people, if you can take your furniture all the way into the mountains why couldn’t you just throw it out in a dumpster where it belongs or even better DONATE IT so there is less waste in the landfill!! Plus there are a lot of people who could use the stuff.

I could complain about these things all day long but that would just be a whole lot of talking but no doing, so here is what we did about it. All 13 of us put on our gloves, grabbed a trash bag and got straight to work. We walked the trails along the river and deep into the canyon. We cleaned up and picked up every piece of trash that we had seen no matter how disgusting it was and once we were all done, we looked around and we all seemed to have the same look on our faces, the look of SATISFACTION. We were so proud of all our hard work. We collected over 10 bags of trash. It looked like a whole different place. It was so cute, Mr. Salazar was especially happy. grin

I was happy, too. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but it is SOOOOO COOL being a KTFBT member. We are all about preserving and protecting our planet which is why we go out and help whenever we can by doing these types of projects. Then, since we were all done with our clean up, we received the very best reward we could ask for…it was time to play!!! grin We set up an area for a picnic and play time then we ran straight for the water. We got to play in the stream all day long….it was fantastic. The water was cool and felt so refreshing after all our hard work. It was so funny, too, because it is a river with fast flowing water just like the ones at the water parks where you can lie in and float around. You know which kinds I mean. I think some places call them lazy rivers. LOL. This was no lazy river though…we kept getting out of the water and headed back up river to where we started, and then we would jump in the water and let it carry us down stream just like a water ride. It was so much fun.

You should set up your own clean up party or picnic. You can go to a local lake, beach, river, or forest. Whatever is closest for you and arrange a day where you can take a few people with you. It doesn’t matter if it is just family or friends that you take along with you, the more the merrier. It is really easy. Just take some gloves and trash bags with you and when you arrive to your party area, you all just start your party off with a clean up of the area first. Once you’re all done then you can enjoy the rest of your day under the sun, having fun with people you care about. There is nothing better then that. You will have a blast. Trust me…it is so much more fun then staying in playing video games. Just give it a try…just once…and you’ll be hooked on helping your environment too.

We are lucky enough to share this Earth and we have the right to play and enjoy ourselves while doing it, but we also have the responsibility of taking care of it and respecting nature. So remember this is "OUR PLANET. OUR FUTURE!" and our responsibility as shipmates to help protect the Earth. And as always, thank you very much for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it.

Alana G

"Science Rules"


P.S. Thank you to Candice Salazar, who took all these photographs.              


Posted by: Alana G

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