Greetings everyone! My name is Isabella Boparai, and I am the newest intern at SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve. I am currently entering my senior year at Bellevue High School and plan to major in political science. Some of my interests include food, food, and more food. But in all seriousness, I enjoy playing soccer, spending time with my two dogs, working at Cold Stone, and seeing my friends and family. I have also created a nonprofit called The Ready Bag Foundation which strives to make resources like school supplies, coats, books, etc. accessible for all students.

I was fortunate enough to be matched with SHADOW by an organization called TIPS (Teens In Public Service). I said yes because I knew that this was an amazing opportunity to learn important lessons that I would be able to take with me in the future. By being a part of a nonprofit, I would learn how to better understand how to run one of my own, work with new people, learn more about a topic, and make a difference.

This year I was enrolled in an environmental science class at my school. I didn’t know what was to come or really what I would be learning, but anything was better than taking AP Chemistry. Throughout the year I learned more and more about how our earth’s systems operate, and I slowly started to become more and more enriched by environmental science. My teacher, who was a big advocate for climate change, always emphasized the importance of protecting our nature. At the end of the day, we only do have one planet. I started to learn more about the practices that benefit and harm our environment, and I became aware of how prominent this issue is. We have temperatures rising globally which as a result negatively affects organisms that many need to survive, I knew this needed to change. I became more passionate about protecting our ecosystem and organisms and started to become more aware of my habits that were harmful to the environment. I started to change the daily products that I used, reduce my shower time, and compost. Before, I didn’t even know that what I was doing was wrong, I thought it was normal. Thanks to my wonderful teacher she made me aware of my damaging customs.

However, without that class and my access to a diverse education, I’m unsure if I would have ever become passionate about preserving our ecosystems. I think about what would happen if more and more kids had access to learn about our environment. I reckon that it would have the same impact on others, just like it had on me. Imagine if every child in King County had access to an environmental education class, and what that could mean for our future. I can tell you we would have a huge influx of students altering their everyday practices in order to be more environmentally friendly and more students becoming passionate about the environment.

Ensuring access to environmental education is critical if we want to have a healthy environment for all. Not every child is as fortunate as me to have access to an environmental science class. Therefore, every child must have the opportunity if taken to learn about the environment surrounding them. That’s why I believe the work being done at SHADOW is important for our youth. SHADOW strives to make environmental education achievable for all, regardless of their demographic. SHADOW’s mission is one that not only resonates with me but also benefits our society, specifically our youth by providing classes and information on our environment. That’s one of the reasons why I started a nonprofit on my own. Ensuring that every child has the correct tools and resources to strive in class better sets them up for success. At SHADOW they set individuals up with success to be a better citizen of the earth.

I encourage my fellow peers to visit SHADOW and observe the many practices being done at this nature preserve to see what small changes can do to benefit our environment. My goal in life is to make a difference, and I believe that I am doing just that by being a part of the SHADOW team. I am thrilled to get started in my work here at SHADOW and appreciate everyone for welcoming me with open arms.

– By SHADOW TIPS Intern, Isabella Boparai