The nature Conservancy

Maygrelin Olivier did some work this semester with The Nature Conservancy: \

The Nature Conservancy is a Non-profit organization that works in all 50 states and over 30 countries worldwide with a mission “to preserve animals, plants and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.” I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Blowing Rocks Preserve located in Jupiter, Florida. The blowing rocks preserve began in 1969, when residents of Jupiter Island donated the 73 acres of their island to the Conservancy. This preserve is 73 acres of breathtaking sights and home to many protected plants and animals such as mangroves and manatees.
 The first two days that I volunteered for the blowing rocks preserve I didn’t do much as far as something that was highly relatable with a lesson. The first day at the site, I spent two hours clearing a trail for visitors to walk by and cleared the main path way of tree debris. It was also my first day on the site, so I also spend a lot of time observing and what not. The second day was a little more interesting; I spent a couple of hours trimming trees and bushes that were overcrowding another pathway of the preserve and on that day I also spend much time doing beach clean up after Hurricane Sandy ruffed up the waters. I don’t ever think that I have ever seen so much waste in a shoreline before. The shoreline clean up made me realized that we can’t just throw things away and not expect it to affect us in anyway. I picked up beer bottles, water bottles, plastic bags, garbage cans, boat seats and much more that you would not even imagine.  To me, this clean-up was relatable to my learning of chapter 12 of water pollution. Specifically, the science behind the story “Is it better in a bottle.” Majority of the things I picked up on the shoreline were indeed plastic bottles. What we don’t realize is that drinking out of water bottles is not even that great because plastic bottles contain around 38 chemical pollutants. 

 On the second day, I also did some gardening of Crownbeard in the butterfly gardening, mostly just trimming other weeds off so that they were able to grow and flourish for pollination. But of course, my supervisor and the biologist saved the best part for last! On the last day of my volunteer experience we planned to go snorkeling to look and count for the Lion fish, which I learned is an invasive species to Florida, and the state of Florida is concerned; we were to report the count. I learned that Lion fish came to be mixed into the ecosystem due to their release by saltwater fish tanks. I also learned Lion Fish are predators whom like structure and hide under the Mangroves, so we went along the Lagoon looking under the Mangrove roots for Lion fish. With our luck, visibility was horrible so we did not see any. After hours of intricate search under mangroves, we decided to Kayak and search the inlet for any invasive plant species; Australian pine, Brazilian pepper and lather leaf. After they spot areas with these plant species they mark them on a map so they can hit them with pesticides and prevent them from spreading further. This last day, I learned so much in regards to invasive plant and animal species to Jupiter Island. To me, this last experience was relatable to my learning of invasive species in chapter 4; species interactions and community Ecology. Invasive species pose threats to the community stability of plants and animals. I learned that many exotic animals and plants don’t usually become invasive but when they do, they can greatly alter a community; they can become competitors, predators, or parasites. Since I also spent much time looking and learning about mangroves, (which by the way they had the white, red, and black mangroves), this experience helps solidify my learning of Mangrove forests in the tropics in Chapter 12; Freshwater, Oceans, and coasts. Mangroves are very important because they filter pollutants, capture eroded souls and protect the coast line. 

(Fresh picked, ripe Coconuts. Before they hit the Coconut Tree with pesticides; they considered it an invasive species.)

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