I worked with the West Florida Regional Planning Council for my second service learning activity this semester. This organization’s mission was to place curb markers on local neighborhoods storm water drains in the attempts of alerting the community of the danger in polluting the storm water. Also, the community was given pamphlets in their mailboxes that contained general knowledge about water pollution, storm water, and why those things have such an impact on our environment.
The work I did involved the organizations second mission as aforementioned. Another student and I went to the neighborhoods placed right outside of Bayou Chico, and placed pamphlets in their mailboxes. Naturally, we ran into a few people along the way who were very interested in what we were doing, and once we told them a couple facts about water pollution, they were amazed to say the least. After walking 11 miles through side, long, and hilly roads for 5 hours, I felt an overwhelmed to know that I had given people knowledge that will last a lifetime. Thus, an experience like this was quite eye opening.
The first lesson that this experience relates to is Chapter 12 when water pollution is discussed. A major point in this section was pathogen and waterborne diseases. This relates to my service learning experience because we were alerting the community of dangerous cases such as that. Disease-causing organisms can enter the drinking water supplies when they are contaminated with human waste or animal waste from feedlots, thus if the communities are not aware of this it could be life threatening.
Another section from Chapter 12 talks about point and non-point sources. Point source pollution is located in discrete locations such as factories or sewer pipes, whereas non-point source pollution is located over larger areas such as farms, city streets, and residential neighborhoods. The work we did was involving these residential neighborhoods and by giving them the proper information, we were in turn notifying them that pollution from their neighborhood has the greatest impact on water quality.
Lastly, groundwater pollution was another important noted section in Chapter 12 that was also something we were alerting the communities about. Groundwater pollution has become extremely widespread due to industries, military, and urban wastes. As we were walking the neighborhoods, there was a lot of construction taking place so we took the time to notify the workers the danger of pollution in groundwater and they were very thankful to us for that.
All in all, this experience was extremely rewarding. Though at times it seemed like we would never stop walking and was extremely exhausting, knowing that with each mailbox we granted another person with knowledge that could affect an entire community was nothing short of completely fulfilling.