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Daily archives "April 12, 2017"

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NOLA Reflection – Hayden

This trip will never be duplicated. There will be trips very similar to ours but no two trips are the same. I enjoyed learning more about how levees work and the different types. I was grateful to learn more about how the citizens of New Orleans had to deal with the hurricane and I was deeply saddened by how things are still not looking great for them on our current path. It was humbling to visit a town that has essentially been abandoned by the State because there was little hope of keeping the town for much longer. It was also great to see how areas around the center of the city has been doing better and to help people grow fruit and vegetables that they can eat and give to the people all around them. Most importantly it was rewarding to be able to go into Woodland Conservancy and do our vegetation surveys. I like doing things and feeling like that I am contributing to something larger than myself. Plus this helps the environment more as a whole since now people will have more data that is accurate. I thought it was cool to also learn more about the culture of the area. I remember hearing about stuff starting in New Orleans but actually going there and seeing it really helped me see how and why things started there. One of the most impactful moments for me was when we went to the Whitney Plantation. This really hot me hard because it was a plantation museum that was dedicated to the history of slavery that was going on there. This was the fist plantation to have this. It was humbling to hear the stories that happened to the slaves and the owners. One of things that I learned was to be grateful of what I have and that it hasn’t been taken away by a storm or by an earthquake. I am also grateful to be living in California where people are a little bit more environmentally aware but the people of Louisiana are learning more and more everyday and that is always good. A few things I will not miss is getting up early and not going to bed till late, and being busy all day and the humidity. With that said I wouldn’t change anything about the trip. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Now I know a few more plants 🙂

From LA to LA

Posted from Camarillo, California, United States.

Being home for these past couple of weeks, has been a bittersweet experience for me. While it has been nice to sleep in past 7 AM and go to bed before 1 AM, I miss the woodlands, the French Quarter, the people of New Orleans, I even miss the blackberry and the adrenaline rush from hacking it all down with a machete. Hearing about this trip I heard of the difficulties I would face, how hard I would work, but most importantly, the sense of accomplishment I would feel walking away from New Orleans. But being here now, words could never express how truly impactful this trip was to me. I loved that it was so much more than touring the city and learning about what can be done, instead, we went out and did it.

Three to four transects, each 100 meters long, through blackberry taller than me, all in one day… working hard through the literal blood, sweat and tears… not for any other reason other than the shear will to help the people of New Orleans that flowed through us all. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the city and feel such passion for the injustice these people face. Because of this adventure of a life time, my eyes were opened to new perspectives and new experiences I never thought possible. As someone who loves the outdoors, being at the Woodlands Conservancy was right up my alley. But it was not just about being in nature that made this trip so amazing, it was the impact and the service that we provided while in New Orleans, in addition to the connections to the people made along the way.

My life has been forever changed, and just within the short few weeks being home, I have shared the stories of the New Orleans people, made a map in GIS of Hurricane Katrina and the levees, and showed others the amazing photos taken along our journey, all in the hopes of passing my love for New Orleans on to others. This trip was an experience of a lifetime and I truly feel so grateful for the opportunity to go with such an amazing professor and amazing classmates. Thank you to everyone who made this adventure not only possible but an incredible memory I will always treasure as a Voodoo Doll.