Today wasn’t a very busy day but it was the day that we learned much about some important topics relating to our program and we all had fun together.
We gathered in the lounge as usual in the morning at 8:15 and headed to Milltown dam. When we arrived we saw some trees were burned by the fire 2 years ago but the view is still very beautiful, the weather was nice today, it was a little bit cold, though. Len explained about the issues of the forest fires which usually happen here. He also addressed the solution of the state government on this issue. Then we had Mike Kustudia to give us a brief history of the Milltown dam which was established in 1908 and was then removed over a decade ago due to the impacts caused by toxic waste from dam and copper mining that affected the environment including Clark Forks River, Blackfoot River and people’s health. The Superfund was established to address the issues in order to clean-up, restoration and redevelopment in the area. After that Mike and his teamwork led us to do a service project which we all pulled knapweed together. Mike said that knapweed is useless and it’s also harmful to other plants so we have to pull them all. This was a very fun activity that we all work together in the same goal, everyone enjoyed it so much. Unfortunately, it was raining while we almost finish knapweed pulling. We had to stop then took some photos and headed to the next appointment. We then attended a city club of Missoula which was held in the hotel in downtown. The club was attended by many city leaders as well as its members in Missoula to discuss about community activism and civic responsibility in the U.S society. The honored governor of Montana State gave a presentation in the club. When he finished his presentation, it was a chance to open for everyone to ask a question, but it was limited that only one table per one question. Luckily, in my table I was given a chance by other leaders to ask the governor a question. It was so exciting and my voice was shaking while asking the question since it was my first time to meet the state governor and other city leaders. I asked him what he would plan for the sustainable development both in economic and environment in Montana. At the end, we also had a chance to take a picture with the governor. Then we moved to visit the Missoula Waste Water Treatment Facility where we met Gene Connell who is the plant’s Supervisor to explain the process of waste water treatment and he took us to look around the plant where the process is running. The treatment is processed by electricity and there are several procedures for the treatment. The treated waste water will be released to the river which can be used in agriculture. Gene said that it’s not a chemical process, so the water is safe for the plants. To ensure this, they also have a project to plant a lot of trees behind the plant by using the treated waste water to plant them. It was such very useful information for the program as well as the SUSI-ers to learn about how the waste water treatment in the U.S. Before we back to our dorm, Mel, Randall and Chris took us to WalMart for shopping a little while and as usual we have a limit time to do shopping. Then it was a problem that some people were not on time so Mel said a little bit about how important of being punctual in the U.S. We all felt so guilty that we didn’t do as well as we can, but I could feel that everyone feels the same and we would love to try to adapt ourselves to the different society and try to be on time.
I wasn’t too tired today, as we didn’t have many activities as the other days. But in this very short time, I learned so much about the topics and tried to listen to the speaker to understand what he talks about, what the problem is and how they resolve. We had fun with a plenty of knowledge today and hopefully we will have a chance to pull knapweed again. I was so impressed that we all work together and enjoy our work today. What’s more, the way the state use to handle the environmental issues is very smart and they realize about how to reach the highest benefit with lowest damage for the environment. It is such a good project to avoid problems and protect the environment as much as they can which will be a very good sample for our countries to implement our countries’ environment protection and problem solution process. Last but not least, I want to say that this program is awesome. I love it, and everything is just perfect for me here. And today was another perfect day for me.