This past weekend, a group of WHSAD students participated in a clean up of Newtown Creek. As part of WHSAD’s new community service requirement for graduation, students were able not only to act as environmental stewards but also fulfill volunteer service hours. Our students’ involvement in community projects such as these will continue to strengthen WHSAD’s commitment to both our students and our city. Below is one student’s account of the day and what he gained from the experience.
On September 23rd I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in the beginning of the restoration process of Newtown Creek. Unfortunately the area surrounding Newtown Creek is all industrial and directly adjacent to the creek is a power plant. It was beyond devastating to experience the traumatic effect that humans truly have on our ecosystem. The waterway was severely littered with trash and toxic waste. These harsh conditions make it almost impossible for native animals of the water to safely survive and live out their lives. Additionally, there is an abundance of invasive species, which humans have introduced, present in the environment of Newtown Creek.
Enough with the intense sorrowfulness and time for the positive upbringings. While working on the creek, we were given the fortune of working towards removing invasive species from the creek. Mugworts were the most plentiful of invasive species present in the creek. They resemble the appearance of weeds and are impervious to most factors that would ordinarily halt the growth of traditional plants. After removing countless amounts of mugworts from the land, we were yet again blessed with the opportunity to visit the 2nd Annual Kingsland Wildflowers Festival and also visit a rooftop next to the creek and view the entire NYC skyline. The community service was truly a magical experience and my peers and I were grateful to be able to work towards creating stability in the ecosystem of Newtown Creek. If ever given another opportunity to do so, I would once again participate in this most fulfilling experience.