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Team Leader Role for Nature's Cause

I am a mobile communication engineer with an avid interest in spending time in nature, and working for its conservation. Though I grew up in a place closer to the mountains, waterfalls, and agriculture fields, I don't recall if I was a nature lover while growing up. Nature used to be thriving during my childhood.

Motivation for waste cleanup

Earth is the only home for all living species, and it is blessed with nature. Nature provides us with abundant water, food, air and a comfortable living place. We often take it for granted. Due to our unchecked consumption, climate change effects have started showing up, oceans and landfills are overburdened with our wastes, and wildlife and ecosystems are disrupted. Its our collective responsibility to protect nature so that every-species and our future human generation can enjoy what we enjoy now. These thoughts provided me with much needed motivation to work for nature's cause.

Tree planting and waste cleanup are the kind of volunteer activities that I enjoy. My work schedule is hectic, and I always look for an opportunity to contribute to nature's benefit. Fortunately, I came across the waste cleanup event conducted by Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful (KCCB) organization in San Jose, California. Without a second thought, I immediately signed up for it, and excitedly was counting down the days until the event day.

My First cleanup experience

Litter Kit
Click of trash pick tool, safety gloves, and trash bag Photo credit: Ram Mohan

I still cherish my first day experience. My first cleanup event was held in Watson Park on November 7, 2020. It was great to meet Deb Kramer, Executive Director of KCCB, Rebekah Cotton, Event Coordinator and Colter Cook, Interpretive Coordinator, and a bunch of energetic volunteers. I had a super hero kind of vibe wearing the volunteer jacket, safety gloves and trash picker tool for the very first time.

After Colter provided a safety talk, and cleanup plan for the day, I immediately started picking up waste and reached a cleanup spot closer to the creek. Though it was sad to see the waste engulfing the beauty of the natural creek, I was completely awestruck seeing school kids, couples, a father with his kid, a mother with her kid, and elderly people enthusiastically cleaning up the wastes.

Volunteers' spirits were so contagious that it motivated me to give 100 percent effort. With the guidance of awesome team leaders and enthusiastic work by volunteers, we had a great clean up that day. That day I have decided to take part in these events often and still I don't have second thoughts about it.

Enthusiastic volunteers on a mission Photo credit: Ram Mohan

Team Leader Stint

Team leaders
With team leaders. Ram Mohan, Colter Cook, Deb Kramer, Karan Gathani, Annette McMillan (left to right) Photo credit: Ram Mohan

KCCB has a group of enthusiastic and caring team leaders. They coordinate and guide volunteers during each cleanup activity. I saw great leadership attributes in them. I believe leadership can be cultivated by taking initiative, accepting responsibilities and helping people. I found the team leader role provides an opportunity to hone the above mentioned skills. In my third cleanup activity, I checked with Deb for a team leader role opportunity. She immediately appreciated my request, and informed my interest to Colter. Then I was officially enrolled as team leader in KCCB. Thanks to Deb and Colter. I started my first cleanup as a team leader at a Watson Park cleanup in February 6,2021. Team leaders were willing to share their knowledge and expertise needed to perform this role well. It was great guiding the volunteers in my group during the clean up activity.

Memorable Records

I have participated in 13 cleanup events so far, and 11 cleanup events as a team leader. Every cleanup event was a learning and enjoyable experiences for me. I consider each and every individual volunteer as a leader who is willing to spend his leisure time for the cause of nature. They inspired their friends and family members join waste cleanup activities. I can observe team work, dedication and passion towards keeping Coyote Creek clean. I have met passionate volunteers who give 200% efforts. KCCB is building up a nature-loving community that takes care of nature in many forms like school kids growing up to become a policy maker, entrepreneur and a responsible citizen.

Before and after photos
Effect of volunteer's effort Photo credit: Ram Mohan

Cleanup Activity Becomes a Habit

Collected cigarette bud wastes Photo credit: Ram Mohan

KCCB encourages every volunteer to keep the litter stick, gloves and jacket to take home. Volunteers will be motivated to pick waste in any accessible place. Thanks to them, I got much needed motivation to engage in cleanup activity in any random place. Colter educated us about the impacts of cigarette butts on the environment during one of the cleanup events. It contains harmful substances that are dangerous to animals, birds and the marine ecosystem. This discussion prompted me to pickup cigarette butts near by home.

I regard these experiences as very valuable, and they will help me towards my efforts to clean up in my home country. I used to get sad seeing immense amount of waste in my home country. Now, I feel like I am empowered enough to address those challenges. I found a support system for my endeavors through KCCB.


I thank Deb for an extempore interview session on one of the clean up session 05/22/2021, which helped me to write this blog.


[1] The Causes of Climate Change

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