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Isaac's Story

On the Green River the sun is completely and wholly unavoidable. You feel it’s potency from sunrise to sunset. Being in this heat for five days straight makes you extremely aware of it. At the Glen Canyon Dam we saw the power of the Colorado River being harnessed and it made us think, what other energy sources could be used so that in the distant future it’s possible that we won’t even need that dam? Being in Arizona, the obvious answer is solar power.

Three other earth campers inspired us by telling their stories about how they implemented programs to support the installation of solar panels at their school. Our small group was really excited about doing this, but then we realized how hard that project would be. We’ve decided to begin by building support for an environmental group, working in small steps for environmental sustainability to reach an ultimate goal.

Our focus is to have solar panels installed at our school, but we understand this is going to be a long term goal and by starting a club that has smaller and more achievable goals, we will be able to make this goal more attainable. We need to educate students about the recycling program at our school, raise awareness of water consumption and paper usage, support the use of native vegetation, use compact fluorescent bulbs, and eventually install solar panels. Because of these small and hopefully more successful projects, we will be able to gain the respect and support of the community. We hope that in the future, Catalina Foothills High School will be self-sustaining in its energy use and its eco-footprint. 

  Day 3: Canyon de Chelly/ River put in/Nature spot                                  7/10/09      

         I've always imagined standing on an alien planet and staring past the landscape and into the stars. Would the stars look any different? Would the skies look any clearer? My one special spot in nature would be free of the pollution and fog that clouds the skies all around our planet. At my spot the stars would shroud the dark skies in a veil of light. I recently found my perfect nature spot down in the depths of Canyon de Chelly. It was pitch black with not a light to be seen and the sars dazzling. I rolled over to find a more comfortable sleeping position, but what I discovered left me awestruck. A giant sandstone pillar with moonlight casting mysterious shadows over it was the foreground of what I saw and the stars that illuminated the sky were the background. This made me feel like I was standing on some sort of alien planet that had been untouched by civilization, but in y head I knew I was still on Earth. This view that was unubstruckted by the fog that covers most of our planet reminded me that there still are places left on Earth that have not been tarnished by our need for developement. This made me realize that most of us have been shirking our biggest responsibility, taking care of the planet we live on. It's not too late though, if we all rise to the challenge of making our planet a better place to be, we can save the natural beauties that are still left on Earth.

This river trip has undoubtedly changed me as a person. Spending 11 days with the same group of 20 people brings you surprisingly close to the people in your group. Throughout this river trip there have been plenty of bonding moments. Whether its flipping your boat in a rapid and then realizing you might have killed your partner or working on a project for hours on end, you can't avoid becoming close to the people around you. For me my greatest bonding experiences were found on the river. We were allowed to go out in little boats called duckies. It's two people per boat for 4 or 5 hours so you can imagine you'll be getting very close to your paddling partner. I went out on the duckies on the first day. Me and my partner were paddling through a rapid that didn't look too threatening, but turned out to be. He was doing most of the paddling and I was steering. In a rapid you can never stop paddling. When you do it becomes almost impossible to steer the boat. We were coming towards the end of the rapid so my partner decided to stop paddling and that turned out to be our downfall. He stopped paddling right next to a giant rock. I tried to steer us, but as I said before, it was impossible. We could do nothing but brace for when we hit. We slammed into the rock sideways and the boat tipped up and then crashed into the river. I was able to hang on to the boat while my partner was swept downstream. At the time I thought he was dead. Finally the current swept me away from the boat  Luckily, Lynn, our "ducky ranger" was there and I could grab onto his boat. He paddled me over to one of the larger boats and I climbed to safety. By this time I had learned that my partner was safe. When we got to shore we were still shaken, but because of this my partner and I had become closer

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