Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Mexicans Represent MLK & Obama!!

Team New Mexico had an awesome Martin Luther King Jr. Day!! We were less one member because Bo was sick :( The boys and I worked with EcoVersity, in Santa Fe, on a service event that took only three days to organize and ended up attracting 60 people! EcoVersity focuses on sustainable living and ecological responsibility through education programs offered throughout the year. On a tour of their facilities we learned how to make bio fuel out of algae from a fascinating ten-year-old, how bees store honey for the winter, and that some turkeys just can’t stop gobbling (and Becky thinks it's hilarious)!

For the service part of the day we weeded the greenhouse. One would think this is a fairly simple task, but no. It took four of us all morning to clear out the grass and nasturtium of a pretty small area. Both plants had overgrown their space and were beginning to kill the other greenhouse plants. Although there was physical labor involved, the greenhouse was 80 degrees and humid (Stephen and I felt at home), and there was soothing music playing as we worked. We did encounter some difficulties when stinging nettles gave Stephen a massive rash on his hands and arms! Luckily, a woman had just stopped in to warm up from outside and told us a natural remedy was the juice from the nettle leaves themselves. Pauly was brave enough to help Stephen and massage the leaves until the juice came out while Ben volunteered to finish the job Stephen had started – woohoo teamwork! Unfortunately, the nettles also stung Ben and gave him a small rash on his arms & hands, but it did not get nearly as bad as Stephen’s. Luckily, the ten-year-old girl came around at this time and gave both the boys some algae oil (the bio fuel I had mentioned earlier) which is also apparently a good skin remedy and has many other uses.

Around lunch time we found out that most of the plants we had weeded would be back and overgrown in less than two weeks! This fact was slightly disappointing considering all the work we had done. For lunch we had homemade vegetable soup with green chili (a New Mexican favorite!) and got to talk with the other volunteers. Then we went on a tour of the grounds where we learned about all of the projects EcoVersity runs. This included spending almost an hour talking to the ten-year-old about her algae project.

In all, we had a fun day where we actually learned something about the environment and felt like we were doing our part. We all look forward to the next adventure of Team New Mexico!!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009