For the first part of spring break, I went on an ASB trip to Yosemite with a bunch of Techers (undergrad and grad). We did a bunch of out-door community service and hiked around various trails in Yosemite. It was wonderful. We were the first group for the 2013 season (it’s winter until end of March), so we got to start off by cleaning the campsites before it opened. This meant going around and picking up bits of trash, brushing the picnic tables and metal food containers of any dust and leaves. We picked up trash for the first and third day of our stay there, and we picked up so much trash! Now, there were occasional plates, spoons, sandals, and plastic bags. But kinds of trash I picked up the most were cigarette buds, pieces of foil, Capri Sun straws, bottle caps, and the bread-bag ties. Little things we might drop while munching on our sandwich or stuff we fail to pick up when the wind blows over the picnic table. But these pieces of trash not only make these common areas look dirty, animals eat them as well! That was so saddening! If we were not to be extra cautious, we could be littering and increasing the chances of putting jagged pieces of foil inside the stomachs of these animals! Second day was a bit more different than our first or last day of community service. We were relocating chopped up lumber from one site to the other. It was hard work, but with successful team work, we prevailed! Apparently, the park service uses trees that needs to be discarded (whether it be trees that needed to be removed, etc.) and provides them to their volunteers for firewood. Now, I thought that was a very odd thing to do, until the volunteer coordinator explained to us that they want to discourage people from bringing in trees far away from Yosemite to ensure non-native fungi will not be introduced to the forest! I learned and experienced so many things on this trip. It definitely made my spring break fantastically exciting.
Yosemite was simply breathtaking. I do think I will definitely come back sometime in the future. There were beautiful waterfalls, great trails, great views, and cute animals. Seeing this entire amazing wilderness with people and cars coming back and forth, I feel recharged to start my next (and last!) term at Tech. I don’t know how, but I would definitely love to help find ways to help the environment (I’m thinking alternative energy, etc.). Though for now, I’m going to stick to what I know: saving electricity, water, and recycling plastic/glass.