All Warsaw Community High School freshmen who participated in the Water Drop river rafting experience on Grassy Creek and Lake Tippecanoe in August participated in a writing contest to share what they learned on their field trip.
The directive was to use facts about the watershed to write an essay that informs people on what they can do to protect watersheds.
Cash awards were presented to the top entries in three categories of flyer, brochure and essay. The contest was sponsored by the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation through the Mary Price Education Fund, and it is supported by the efforts of the Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Warsaw Community High School English Department.
“The entries were really fun to read. The students did a great job researching threats to water quality and the health of our lakes and streams. They provided accurate and manageable solutions to protect and improve water quality. Many of the essays included poems or songs. I was impressed with their creativity,” said Lyn Crighton, executive director of the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation.
Visit the TWF website at www.tippecanoewatershed.org to view all of the winning entries. What follows is the winning entry by Karissa Meyers.
The Ripple Effect
By: Karissa Meyers
Warsaw Community High School
Even though I live in Lake City, I have never been a fan of water recreation, or even water in general. I used to think that the lakes and I had no connection. My mindset was: since I do not visit lakes, movements to protect the city’s lakes and water do not concern me. The lakes were there, but I did not disturb them and they did not disturb me.
Then, my freshman class went on the Water Drop field trip to Grassy Creek and Lake Tippecanoe. I realized that my actions do matter, and the water and I are not complete strangers. We are neighbors, as we share the planet. I have since come to believe that our local waters should be treated with respect; they hold an abundance of treasures for our world, and it is the responsibility of Earth’s inhabitants to care for our home.
The Water Drop was a fantastic learning experience. Before that day, I did not realize the importance of being educated about the area in which I live. I am living in a world rich with life. The conservation officer leading my rafting group was very passionate about water quality and the ecosystem, and I truly admire that passion. I learned that we are connected to the other species on this planet, and other forms of life should be respected. Everything we do to our water will come back to affect us and future generations. No action is free of consequence. Humans are abusing the world, and although the repercussions come slowly, the effects are real.
Disastrous effects stem from the numerous problems with our water. Invasive species, low oxygen levels, trash pollution, over-hunting, excessive animal waste, fertilizer pollution, and the loss of habitat to industrialization and agriculture are all concerns. It is important to be aware of these issues, because they will affect us and our home. We need water to drink, to live. Healthy water supports fish and other animals that humans eat, and the fishing industry influences our economy. Also, many people use the water for recreational activities. If we do not protect our water, future generations will struggle to keep it clean and healthy.
Everyone can help in some way, by doing simple things, or avoiding certain actions. Litter could decrease significantly if people disposed of their waste properly. When washing a car or fertilizing a lawn, know where the drainage is going. If chemicals enter the lakes and streams, it could cause harm for the animals and the water. Most people do not think about it, but simply cutting down water usage and being conservative can help places that are suffering from water shortages. Those who boat should follow regulations and observe zoned-off sections. Those who do not directly interact with lakes should be educated to help raise awareness.
The Water Drop left me with a renewed respect for our world and a more Earth-conscious mind. Now that I am aware of the dangers to our ecosystem’s animals and water, I am searching for more ways to be a solution and not a problem. Everyone is a part of the world, and every single person contributes to the way that our environment functions just by living. I realize that I am not alone on this planet. Animal health depends on human actions, and my grandchildren will be living in a world that my generation crafted. This is our home; it is our responsibility to respect and care for it.