A lot of the topics I post about are really focused on reaping the benefits of the outdoors, whether it be for fresh air, exercise, adventure, or a myriad of other lovely and mind/body rejuvenating things. Being outside is pretty cool, especially when you’re used to being stuck in the city and being angry about construction workers cutting down all the trees and preventing freedom in street crossing and generally clogging up the air with their clanging and dirt. I love getting to take a drive and finding the trees that haven’t been cut down yet, the trees that live alongside some nice fresh water, maybe a newt or two, and a few dry leaves for me to crunch my boots on. Considering how much I love being outside, I’ve definitely got to keep in mind methods to preserve it and keep it as beautiful as I know it; sustainability is vital. And that’s why I’ve jumped onto the executive board of a new group on the Johns Hopkins Campus- the Alliance for Clean Water.
A few of my friends and their friends really had the initial idea for the group, but welcomed me with open arms onto the founding council as a leader and a photographer. Since then, I’ve really jumped into the think-tank that’s begun to set up projects for the spring semester and get our name out there to the campus and the greater Baltimore community.The Alliance for Clean Water (ACWa) is dedicated to keeping water pure and clean in natural and urban environments, providing clean water to everyone, and reducing toxic runoff and waste that contaminates rain water: pretty simple, but incredibly important. Water is the one thing you really can’t live very long without; it takes up a lot of space in our bodies and in our earth. So we’ve gotta think about keeping it around, for everyone’s sake.
So far, ACWa is still gauging interest and support around campus; however, we’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm and commitment already. On our first hike on Gunpowder Falls, Maryland in the fall, the trip was booked to capacity with a long wait list. We had an amazing day navigating our way by the beautiful Gunpowder Falls area, eating lunch atop rocks in the river and playing mind games while we hiked.We took water samples a few times during the hike so we could analyze them for purity.
Since then, we’ve really been thinking about doing some big things this spring semester. This past weekend, the club President and I along with her generous boyfriend went out to the St. Francis Community center near Druid’s Park in Baltimore to build a rain garden. What is a rain garden, you ask? Well, it’s a dug entrenchment in the lawn that essentially (in well engineered dirt piles and measurements that I’m not too familiar with) collects rain water that falls off houses and slides down lawns into storm drains. Now, why would it want to do that? Some people think that putting trash and dirty water down storm drains is an environmentally friendly action. Except, that water has run over all the chemicals and waste and bad things it’s hit since it’s journey from the sky and it’s taking those nasty things down the storm drain and straight into the Baltimore Harbor. It doesn’t magically get purified along the way. That’s where the rain garden steps in to lend a hand. Blue Water Baltimore, a non-profit organization that works for environmentally sustainable causes in urban and neighborhood areas around Baltimore, came up with this brilliant plan and we were all too ready to help them out. We partnered with some fraternity brothers from Towson University who were eager to throw down some shovels, a few great people from Blue Water Baltimore, and friendly people from Reservoir Hill. We helped weed, garden, sweep up glass from about 100 broken bottles near the playground. By the time noon rolled around and we were ready to devour our delicious free lunches provided by Whole Foods (Thanks Whole Foods!), it was looking great already. It was a really rewarding experience, and we set ourselves up in contact with the cool people from Blue Water and hope to do more of their stellar projects this spring–one of them involves kayaking to pick up trash (my ears perked up)!
Our big project this semester will hopefully be doing some artistic stenciling around storm drains, either directly on the Johns Hopkins campus or around it, depending on whose arms we can twist after a few e-mails and meetings. We’re hoping to get right up on campus and show people how important clean water really is. I hope you agree!
Thanks for reading everyone, as always–
I have an extreme love and appreciation for everyone that reads through everything I say! ❤