While in New Zealand, our group volunteered at CUE Haven, getting fairly muddy in the process. We planted native tree species to assist in the restoration of 24 hectares of farmland that has been gifted to the community by two individuals, Tom and Mahrukh. Their vision is to Cultivate Understanding and Enlightenment (CUE) by creating a space for people to connect with the environment. Our work at CUE Haven, however dirty, was incredibly fun. Living in a city and spending most of my time studying, it is not often that I get to put my hands in the dirt (even at the Center, we are good at keeping relatively clean). The tree planting was a way for me to let go of my inhibitions with the dirt and get to work. I feel that this is a very important step for many people, especially those who live in cities, to take. So often, people find dirt repulsive and dangerous. If they were to take a minute to plant a tree, perhaps they would lose this fear.
Another thing that I took away from Cue Haven was the influence that Mahrukh and Tom’s personalities had on our time there. Both of them were so happy to see us, and their stories were dynamic and captivating. I loved hearing about their different travels, conferences, and discoveries, and they inspired me to go out and make my own. This made me think about how much the energy of the people in a place or the leaders of a company can affect the progress of the initiative. It is so important that the people leading campaigns are excited and educated about their work. In the future, I hope to enter all of my endeavors with similar passion and determination so as to make as many people excited about media and the environment as possible!