Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – The Environment Around Us

Name: Jennifer Buchanan
From: Escondido, California
Grade: 12th
School: Mission Hills High School
Votes: 19

August of this year I will be embarking on a new chapter of my life
as I have been accepted at Louisiana State University this fall.
Since I was in middle school, I have been involved in environmental
work. I chose to become involved in this because I had the unique
opportunity of living in a national park in my early years. It was
amazing being surrounded by nature no matter where I went in the
city. However, when I moved to California in the fifth grade, there
was such a lack of nature and such an excess of trash that I felt I
had to do something. I have spent 4-5 hours every two weeks for the
past 7 years volunteering at beach cleanups, cleanups after major
storms, and park remodels, picking up trash, clearing debris, and
planting new plants. At first, my biggest challenge was recruiting
other people to help since the environment is an issue not everyone
takes seriously. However, I eventually learned how best to show
people that the state of their environment has a direct effect on
them as an individual. All in all, the hard work definitively pays
off. Seeing the transformation of a park from the beginning of a
clean up after a storm to the end is the most satisfying thing in the
world because you know you’ve created something that not only is good
for the environment but other people will enjoy as well. From my
work, I have learned what it means to work hard for something and
what it feels like when you accomplish it. I feel that my work will
help me be more educated and understanding when I go into the
political science field. It has helped me understand what sort of
things are actually helpful, the impact peoples actions have, and
what actions are the most important to prioritize. Whether I am
making decisions on a law or simply lobbying for a specific policy,
this will help me to make decisions that will positively impact the
environment. Actions that are “forward looking” in my
opinion are actions that accomplish something that will have a
significant difference in the future. I feel that my actions are very
forward looking in this sense, since creating and maintaining homes
for creatures will allow them to continue inhabiting the area for
years to come. Twenty years from now, I feel I will have made a
difference by not allowing places to get run down or disregarded.
When an area becomes too run down, it is often cleared for other
money producing businesses, but my actions will help to prevent this.
Finally, I hope that my volunteer work will help to show people that
taking care of the environment is very important and that it can even
be beneficial to the average person to have a thriving environment.

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