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Olivia's Story

    The most significant experience that I had at Earth Camp was my visit to the Sweetwater Treatment Plant. We learned all about the process that sewer water goes through. We saw and smelled it all. It was so amazing to see the gorgeous river that the water went into after the process was completed. It was also amazing to see the wetlands, but it was also scary. It frightened, as well as disgusted me because the ten-year plan for the City of Tucson Water Department, is that in ten years we will be drinking the very reeking water I had just smelled.
    I decided that I will do my part by saving and reusing water. I will hook up PVC pipes and duct tape to the back of my washer so it will use greywater to water my plants instead of going to waste. I will also get more efficient showerheads and faucets in my home. If I begin to make small differences, other people will hopefully follow my example and we can postpone drinking reclaimed water for as long as possible.



    One of my favorite activities was harvesting the saguaro fruit. We went to a property owned by the Desert Museum, where Jes?s Garcia taught us how to harvest the fruit with kuipods, made from saguaro ribs. We walked all around the desert searching for ripe fruit. Our pants were soon full of cactus spines, but it was worth it. None of us got much more then twenty, but together we had many bucketfuls of the red fruit. We then took the insides out of the fruit. Finally we  boiled the red pulp, separated the seeds and made it into a soupy preserve. Last, but definitely not least, we got to eat the preserves on vanilla ice cream. Yum!


    On our way up to Mt. Lemmon we made a couple of stops to see the sights. At one of the stops we went into a wash to do some repeat photography. We were given pictures of certain spots that were taken about two years ago. We had to find the place where the picture was taken and recreate the picture. It was amazing to see how much it had changed.  Once we were done with that, we climbed up the cliffs that lined the wash. We went up quite a ways and looked down at the people still in the wash.
 


     On our first Friday we had the opportunity to go to Brad Lancaster’s house. Brad Lancaster runs a water/energy friendly home. He harvests rainwater and uses greywater to water his trees. He also grows much of his own food. Some examples are fruit, honey, veggies, and he keeps chickens for their eggs and meat. Another amazing thing about Brad is that he does not have a car. He uses bikes to get around, and even has extra for guests. He also cut his city power line, so all he uses is energy from his solar panels. I think that that is really cool, and I hope to someday follow his example.


    I had a wonderful experience at Earth Camp this year. I feel like I learned a lot. I had wonderful teachers, and counselors. I would especially like to thank Amy Orchard, Sanlyn Buxner, Eric Liljequist, Jes?s Garcia, Matt, Katie, and all of our guest speakers. I had many friends such as, but not limited to, Tiffany, Sade, Shelbi, Ciera, Sonora and Anna, Monique, Brenda, Nic, Isaac, Ben, Jes?s, Juan, Keegan, Agustin, Rachel, Ryan, Tyler, and Lafon. Thanks to you all, and I’m sorry if I forgot anybody.                                                                                                                                                                                               -Olivia