by Maria Espinoza, San Rafael High School, MMWD 2018 Water Scholar
The Mount Tamalpais Watershed has helped many families receive clean water in their homes for decades, leading to a strong county. The Marin Municipal Water District has been treating everyone equally by giving everyone the same quality water and not discriminating against anyone. High Schoolers have gained the opportunity of being in involved in internships that enhance their learning, knowledge of career options, as well as their impact on their community. Many residents have created memories and experiences in the protected reservoirs bringing joy to our county.
Through the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed I have found a meaningful way to contribute to my community by working with Linking Individuals to their Natural Communities (L.I.N.C.). As a member of L.I.N.C. I went to the Marin Municipal Water District every week and we met in our initial meeting place, in front of all the work trucks and laborers from the water district. The metalsmiths, office workers and other members at the workplace were always very kind and upbeat about us being there. They offered us ice cubes for our water and advice about future careers. Through their advice on different careers I learned that I can have a positive effect on others and my environment by not only participating in physical labor but also by monitoring different ecological systems in an office space. The exposure to these potential careers inspired me to choose Environmental Studies as my desired major for each university I applied to.
The Watershed is very special to me because, through L.I.N.C., I met some amazing people and made promising friendships. The women that I met are passionate students who want to improve the environmental state of our community and encourage others to do the same, just like me. I value these relationships that I've made through L.I.N.C. very much. I never see the Marin Municipal Water District as just a building, I see it as a place where I have a new family and as a place for opportunity. Through benefiting my community and restoring different areas as a member of L.I.N.C. I now hope to meet even more new people who can work together to improve the biodiversity and cleanliness of our home, Marin.
The Mt. Tamalpais Watershed is special because I value having clean water and being treated equally. Many benefits come with having clean water. Our social classes in Marin can feel equal, because we all have the same local water source. This is important to me because the distribution of wealth is oddly spread out throughout Marin. I have noticed that some areas of Marin have less fundings in their schools or have unpleasant housing. This then makes the quality of life in specific areas of Marin seem less worthy, when really it's just the lack of caring from other Marin community members. For example, I live in the Canal and go to school where other people also live in the Canal and live elsewhere. Many students who do not live in the Canal repeat stereotypes and assume that the crime rates in the Canal are so high that the Canal is unlivable. What they do not understand is that the crimes can be rumors. Yes, the Canal has higher crime rates compared to any other neighborhood in Marin, but that doesn't mean foreigners who go in get mugged. Instead of going along with the stereotype of the Canal being an unsafe neighborhood, other Marin members should spend time knowing that most people who live in the Canal aren't criminals and they should give new places a chance to help improve the reputation. The fact that the watershed treated everyone equally and gave everyone access to clean water at a low cost is very special. The watershed does not see having clean water as a luxury, but as a necessity. I am glad to know that everyone in my community has clean water they can use and depend on.
Another reason to why the Mount Tamalpais watershed is very valuable is because they have been able to provide clean water for Marin for a little over one-hundred years. Unlike the water officials in Flint, Michigan the residents of Marin are able to feel secure in always having clean water. Not having clean water can break communities apart. Having contaminated water can lead to a negative effect on the people's health and the environment. When people begin to drink contaminated or polluted water, it drags their immune system down and causes them to be sick or even go to the emergency room. The environment also gets polluted if the water is undrinkable. People begin to buy many plastic water bottles in order to compensate with the loss of clean running water. This then leads to more plastic in landfills and even water damages in natural ecosystems of Marin. Marin is able to stay united and calm knowing that the reliability of our water is valued and prioritized.
My last reason to why I appreciate the Mt. Tam Watershed is because of the reservoirs it has created and protected for the satisfaction of others. I had my 9th birthday celebrated at Lake Lagunitas and I can still remember how happy I was with my family and closest friends. The lakes compliment the hills and Mt. Tam of Marin County. They create amazing views from up above and beautiful scenery from below. Residents of Marin value nature and care for the well being of Marin, therefore having beautiful lakes to hike next to is beneficial and enjoyable. Reservoirs can create different learning environments for children on field trips. By using the reservoirs they can learn about multiple biomes and biodiversity as well as how they can make a positive affect in their community.
The Mt. Tam Watershed has made it possible for many families to have security in their water and in their community. Thanks to the existence of the watershed, youth in Marin are able to apply to programs like Linking Individuals to their Natural Communities and create new relationships and passions that will positively impact their futures. The children in Marin can use the Watershed reservoirs as learning experiences and as birthday adventures. The Watershed allows for everyone, no matter the race, age, or gender to feel equally valued on the spectrum of who gets clean drinkable water. The residents of Marin are very fortunate to have such a dependable local source of water.
Hello, my name is Maria Espinoza and I am going to Humboldt State University next year to major environmental studies and minor in dance. I want to go into environmental policy to make stronger laws that protect the environment. I love being outdoors with my friends and family. Summer of 2017 I got to participate in L.I.N.C. I am very grateful for the connections and experiences I made that summer. Thank you!