Z Spools Reflection 5: Spring Break

This spring break, I had the opportunity to work with the Hiawasee Water Coalition, a group in

Murphy, North Carolina that works to improve the quality of the Hiawasee water shed, a water

system the affects the entire Mississippi water shed. During the trip, we removed invasive

species such as Chinese Privet, Multi-flora Rose, Bamboo. Using clippers and saws, we cut

down such plant that weakened river banks in this agricultural area. We would then plant native

trees that would strengthen the river bank and prevent erosion and water turbidity, an occurrence

that suffocates fish in the Hiawasee river shed.


It was very meaningful and inspiring work; while working with these invasive plants, fellow

volunteers described them as an unwanted nuisance, nothing more than garbage. But through my

work with Z Spools, I have learned to see value in the unwanted. These invasive plants would

either be left to decompose in the woods, or collected to be burned. But many of these plants

have medicinal uses in their native countries. Similar to hemp, bamboo can be used to make

clothing. Clearly, these plants are anything but useless. A means of collection already exists:

volunteers through organizations such as the Hiawasee Water Coalition. All that is needed is

someone who is willing to find the value in these “useless” plants. She must form a team of like

minded individuals to propel this idea into fruition, into a market, and into environmental and

entrepreneurial prosperity. I am this person, and I look forward to continuing this line of work

through Z Spools and other similar endeavors.

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