Youth Environmental Alliance
Helping improve our environment
On September 14, 2022, we volunteered with the Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA) to help restore native butterfly gardens. The Youth Environmental Alliance was created in 2005 with the main goal to facilitate participation in environmental activities through education programs. They offer fun and engaging events that empower the youth and the community to preserve and protect our unique ecosystems and wildlife, at home, in the office, and in your community. To help restore the native butterfly gardens, we first had to remove invasive plants that were harming the gardens. We then planted native plants to attract pollinators. In addition to removing and planting plants, we also learned about global warming and climate change.
The steady rise in atmospheric temperatures is known as global warming. Global warming is a form of climate change, and it is typically linked to the greenhouse effect, which is caused by higher amounts of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants. Global warming has many negative effects including the increase of average temperatures, the increase in extreme weather events, and the increase in sea levels. According to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA, hurricanes are likely to become more intense, on average, in a warming world. Extreme hurricanes will cause major damage in cities and states, and it may take years to rebuild. In addition, global warming causes ice to melt and sea levels to rise. Melting of polar ice in the Artic and Antarctic regions will not only affect sea levels but it will also affect animals that live in that habitat. Animals that live in these habitats may even become extinct, since they have nowhere else to go. Also, due to sea levels rising, many major cities in Florida are predicted to be underwater by 2050. As we can see, global warming is real, and it comes with a lot of consequences. However, there are ways we can help prevent or slow down the continuation of global warming. One way to slow global warming is through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis takes carbon dioxide out of the air in order to produce oxygen. Since
global warming is caused by high amounts of carbon in the air, photosynthesis will be one way to stop global warming from getting worse.
Overall, the Youth Environmental Alliance’s main goal is to help restore our world and make it a better place. They are doing this by organizing events to help local environments, whether it is restoring gardens or cleaning up a beach. What might seem like a small task is benefitting the whole world. We only have one world, so it is important that we take care of it. I am so glad I was able to volunteer with such a great organization that is supporting a great cause. I will definitely volunteer with YEA again at future events.
To learn more about this organization, click on the link below: https://www.youthenvironmentalalliance.com
We had a great experience volunteering at the Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA). Since 2005, Youth Environmental Alliance has offered engaging programs with a focus on environmental stewardship, conservation, and educational sciences. These enjoyable and interesting initiatives encourage sustainability at home, in the classroom, at work, and in your communities by involving young people, businesses, and the general public in the preservation and protection of our special ecosystems and species. Programs are available for people of all ages and skill levels.
During our volunteer experience, we removed invasive plants, replacing them with native ones. Invasive plants are also known as alien species. They are unhealthy for the environment because they rupture the food web and compete with native species for resources. Native plants, also known as indigenous, are plants that have existed in a specific environment and location for many years . They are highly suited to the soil, light, and climate features that define their habitat. Without these native plants, local birds, insects, and pollinators cannot survive. Pollinators allow plants to thrive. These plants are responsible for a massive part of the food supply. They are eaten by humans, as well as many animals.
I believe that people should volunteer so they can help improve their local environment. The work done supports the ecosystem and helps with climate change.
You’ve probably heard the phrase invasive plant species before, but do you know why they’re a problem? An invasive species is an organism that is not native to an ecosystem and can cause damage by competing with native species for resources or carrying diseases that can kill them. Controlling the spread of invasive species in South Florida is important for the preservation of our wildlife.
The spread of invasive plants is often accidental. With global travel and trade, seeds can be unknowingly transported from one area of the globe to another. Most invasive plant species are brought into an area however for their beauty, medicinal qualities or for other reasons. When these plants enter an ecosystem without natural controls their spread can cause the ecosystem’s biodiversity to decline by competing with native plants for sunlight, water, space and can even change the soil’s chemistry and nutrient levels.
Fortunately, we can all do our part to combat the invasion. A good rule of thumb is to ask before you plant. Simply ask whether a plant is native before purchasing it from a nursery or garden center. You can also check the National Invasive Species Information Center at https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov to see if a plant is invasive in your area. Hopefully this small step can help to preserve the diverse and beautiful South Florida wildlife for years to come.