Contributed by: David Syckle II

I believe Earth Day is a great tradition. I also understand that people are busy and may not be able to volunteer on a large project during Earth Day. I have always believed that Earth Day is a reminder to us to give back to the Earth. My hope is that people would GIVE back to the Earth and that we would DO our share in keeping the Earth healthy and beautiful. We can give our time when we can spare it, even if it isn’t Earth Day.

The natural beauty of the forest along the Pine River called me out to volunteer at CWC’s Stearns Preserve this summer. I have always enjoyed being outdoors and observing the forest environment. I was always looking for a reason to be in the woods. Whether hunting, fishing, camping, or just walking, I really enjoy the woods. In fact, I spent so much time in the forest that I figured I should work in it.  I decided that I would attend college to study wildlife biology because of my love for the woods and the joy I feel when in the forest.

When Tom Stewart gave me the opportunity to volunteer on the Stearns Preserve I knew right away that I would enjoy this volunteer work. When walking in the forest, I have always tried to pick up trash, garbage, and other refuse left by people. Tom explained that there was a nasty metal wire fence running along a ditch line that needed to be cut and hauled out of the preserve. He also explained that it would be helpful if I could identify any plants or animals that I encountered while on the preserve.

I knew this volunteer work would be rewarding because I believe we are caretakers of the land and we are responsible to do our part in preserving the environment for future generations. Not only did I enjoy the forest, but I was able to help restore the natural beauty there by working with Preserve Steward Dave Shepherd by removing the wire fence from the property. I was also glad to have the volunteer team point out plant species and identify those unknown to me. This was a good experience for me.