Calvine High School received the Creek Steward award for their study of Strawberry Creek in south Sacramento County and Elk Grove. They have conducted water quality tests, surveyed plants and animals and compared the results on two different creek stretches. One section of creek has been straightened and lined with concrete to allow development to come close to the creek. The other section of creek, just downstream, has been given more room and is more natural. The students’ field experiences, observations and data are used in various areas of the school curriculum.
Two Calvine students, inspired by the school’s creek studies, read their essays at the Creek Week Splash Off event. We would like to share some of their words with you.
Taking Steps: Strawberry Creek
by Esteban Campos
All throughout the history of mankind, we have been known to grow in population. When our population grew, so did our achievements. Brilliant minds arise and make differences. Good-hearted souls serve their community, and many other great things happen in a large population. But, as a way of life, with the good achievements come sacrifices. What happens when we destroy something that is part of the land’s history due to population demands and personal desires to profit? When we satisfy our desires, we usually don’t think of the collateral effects that may take place afterwards. Unfortunately, this is also well known in mankind’s history.
Did you know that the last global assessment for rainforests’ productivity was in 1990? An area of about one hundred-fifty thousand square kilometers of rainforest, equivalent to the size of Wales, was being destroyed every year. This figure is believed to have increased in the last year. It sometimes takes statistics like these for we as people to rethink our intentions and causes.
These facts that are presented to you are not to try and convince you that Strawberry Creek is a one hundred-fifty thousand square kilometer rainforest, but rather to express what we are really destroying. We are truly destroying ourselves. No matter what damage we do to the earth, the earth will adapt and evolve with the damage it is taking, it does not mean the earth has to evolve with us.
Let Strawberry Creek stand as a natural monument of our community’s respect and appreciation of all the natural gifts that were freely given to us. Let our youth from Calvine High School clean and care for the land, let us be of service to our community, and let’s all take a small step for big opportunities.
by Elizabeth Cavazos
Calvine High School students are making one of the many contributions to the preservation of life by visiting Strawberry Creek. Strawberry Creek, like most creeks in California, has been polluted. Consequently, water has been contaminated and millions of organisms have been exterminated. Examining and cleaning the polluted water at Strawberry Creek will be very valuable and necessary for the environment. Not only does pollution affect the environment, but it also takes a toll on life in general.
First and most importantly, all creatures on this earth have the right of existence. Although humans are the dominant species, all other living things have just as much right to live as we do. Would you like it if someone invaded your living space and started dumping trash everywhere? Polluting the habitat of various creatures has a ripple effect on everything and everyone. For example, once a river or lake is contaminated, many fish and sea animals die. Fish are the main food supply for bears. If bears don’t have anything to eat, they also then become extinct. In addition, every organism has a purpose as one of God’s many beautiful creatures.
Water is the most common substance on earth and very important to our everyday lives. On the average, each person in the United States uses about 70 gallons of water a day in his or
her home. Water is also needed for power, industry, irrigation, transportation and recreation. Our rivers, lakes and creeks supply the water. We should preserve water instead of polluting
it. No one wants to live around dirty, smelly, polluted water that contains germs or chemicals. Polluted water can spread typhoid fever and other diseases. Pollution prevents people from using and enjoying water for recreation, and the risk of disease makes polluted water unsafe. In conclusion, the more pollution there is, the less chance we have of enjoying life to the fullest.
All in all, testing the water in Strawberry Creek and cleaning the environment will bring mankind one step closer to solving this problem.
This article originally appeared in Summer 2006 Newsletter