Mungai’s Outdoor Retreat

Sam Mungai, Columnist • swmungai16@ehc.edu

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Sam Mungai

The intentional fall break trip is a yearly trip organized by The Appalachian Center for Student Life at Emory & Henry College, these trips aim to give students the chance to take time out of their fall break to work with an organization and serve a community in need.

This year, internal fall break trip was working with the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition in Murphy, North Carolina. The association aims to educate people about the dangers of invasive water and plant species in the environment. Each year, the association receives tons of volunteers from the local community as well as from colleges around the United States.

The trip this fall was new to the volunteer students from Emory & Henry college because instead of going to work for an organization like Habitat for Humanity, where everyone knew what to do and all about the organization, this trip, we all had no idea about the organization, the work we were going to do. This created an element of surprise and anticipation.

 

During our first day, we learned a lot about the association, and then we were presented to our trusted tour guide Tony who was go- ing to tell us what invasive plants to remove and which plants to not touch. After the briefing, we proceed to the first piece of land where we were going to remove invasive species. Except for few members who knew what they were going, the rest of us were completely lost because all the species of plants looked green and good; however our trusty guide Tony didn’t let us go that easily. He made sure we got all those invasive species of plants.

Over the next few days, the concentration was mainly put on one invasive species of plants called privet. At the different locations we worked at, our duty was to chop down tons of privet. I kid you not, there were enormous amounts of this- -ranging from small plants to even whole trees! We did our best cut down as much as we could, which both was an achievement as well as very rewarding. Being able to concentrate on this species alone made it easier for everyone in the group to know what they were doing. Other than cutting down invasive species, we all got to know more about our guide Tony as well as about each other. It’s important to do service, but it’s also equally as important to get to know about the people you are working with because at the end of the day–those are the memories that will carry all through one’s life.

 

At the end of the trip, we were not only knowledgeable about the different inva- sive species of plants, but we experienced a different kind of service. Overall, this will aid us to educate our differ- ent communities about the importance of conserving agricultural land and remov- ing the species that come and destroy its magni cence.

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