Photo: HCA Intern Sarah Daldrup (pictured far right) assists in leading a workday at Alex George Lake. Daldrup is studying Environmental Science at the University of Missouri –KC.
Working with Heartland Conservation Alliance as an intern this past winter has been an interesting experience. I met many of their partners and gained insight into what goes into keeping those partnerships and connections with the various communities. The projects I worked on were about how we can help a specific community better or how can we connect more people to the Blue River.
One of my assignments was to help lead a public workday on March 16. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had gone to clean ups before but as a participant, but not as an organizational leader. We had two groups in which volunteers of all ages could join. One group one was to cut down honeysuckle and treat it with a chemical to stop it from coming back. Group two worked to pick up trash.
My group included kids and adults, some who were adventurous and strayed off the path and into the woods to find trash. I stayed with them since it seemed riskier. This dirt path wasn’t the safest to go on it was really muddy from the rain the last couple of days and the trash was hard to get to. We had to go under trees and vines that had grown thorns or hold on to someone and get a piece of trash out of the water. It was worth it, but it took a while to get out of that area into a clearing where we were back on the paved path and later met up with the other groups. Some of our group found part of a car!
Afterward everyone met back up at the sign in table had some food to eat and a chance to relax and tell other volunteers what they had found. I hoped all workdays would be like this good food, good company, and a lot of hard work that would be rewarded with the impact we had made that day and how good it was to be outside.
On April 6, I helped lead another workday at the Municipal Farm along with Giving Grove and Boys Grow where we were planting fruit and nut trees. I got to see a new side of Kansas City that I hadn’t before been to. Workdays are a lot of work but if you have fun with it will turn out great!
Interning at HCA is great. I got to meet a lot of cool partners and community members that really care what happens to their environment. As in Environmental Science major, my classes what happens to the environment is important since it can greatly impact our health. My internship gave me a chance to see these lessons in action. For example, littering and dumping trash looks bad but, and It can hurt animals if they eat or get stuck in it.
No one wants to live in a place full of trash, but if you start taking care of the area you live in then you start to feel better about where you live and feel proud that you live in this area. By doing this you regain your connection with the community and want to help change some of these issues.
These are some of the reasons HCA and our partners want to help our communities and the environment we all share. It doesn’t just affect one person it affects all of us. By making small changes to an area we can provide an impact to get people motivated to do something where they live and give them a new perspective on their environment.