Read about our trip to Ventura County to work with NWF and Food Share here.
From the time I was about 10 years old, maybe even younger than that, I wanted to be a teacher. It’s a dream I still haven’t quite given up on, despite all the myriad other things I envision myself doing throughout my life.
My experiences the last week, working with the students at Thousand Oaks High School did nothing to sway that feeling of wanting to help young people grow and mature into the adult we must all one day become.
The thing of it is, something as simple as planting redberry bushes can go a long way in helping someone learn a great deal more. There was a young lady I was working with, who initially did not really seem to be all that excited by the prospect of digging in the dirt, but by the time the work was finally done, she had even named her plant. She felt an attachment to that work, and I sincerely hope, a new look at a part of life she was not all that previously thrilled with.
Not only did this service trip allow me to reconnect with my childhood dreams, but it awoke a wish in me to help more–be it in my community or with organizations like the NWF as a whole. When I was in high school, I was required to volunteer through National Honor Society. It seemed like a chore at first, but when I was done, I realized how rewarding helping those who need help the most can truly be. This service trip brought that same feeling back to me.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and that really can be true. One of the reasons I am becoming quite passionate about helping these wildlife habitats to grow and flourish is because while we were visiting the Ojai Meadows Preserve, I saw progress first-hand. Where once there had been almost a wasteland, now plants were growing, animals were returning (oh my goodness, I was able to see a Turkey Vulture while I was there!), and water was beginning to reappear in this one-time wetland. Please do look at their website for more information: http://www.ovlc.org/preserves/ojai-meadows-preserve/
I saw beautiful, wonderful sights in Southern California, though nothing beats the sights and sounds of coming home. As an individual, I am easily excited about the simplest of things. Sometimes these little joys make a trip that much more memorable. I will likely never forget what it was like to see a gopher popping out of his little dirt cave, or to find a real-life Zoltar machine at a seaside arcade. Trying new things, like Tapenade and un-fried calamari added to the fun for those around me, and I’m glad I could amuse with my easy excitement. I never did get a picture of a pelican diving into the water, but you know what? I saw it. The memory of that will stay with me forever, I just wish I could share it with others. Once school allows me to do so, I’ll hope I’ll have a chance to share all of the pictures and videos I took on the trip.