By Margaret Zhang
When summer’s come about, school’s out of session, the temperature’s warm, all blue skies and sun and fluffy clouds with everyone recuperating. Some have summer jobs while others are going on vacation and relaxing, be it at home, at the beach or elsewhere. There are also individuals, both adults and students, and groups doing community service in an effort to help and advance their communities. One such organization is the Alliance of Youth Leaders in the United States (AYLUS).
AYLUS is a non-profit student-run organization with branches all over the country. This summer the Syosset branch participated in multiple events most significantly in environmental protection with co-presidents Alan Huang and Jasmine Chen, co-vice presidents Leo Cheng and Ryan Leung, Treasurer Tommy Tang, Secretary Margaret Zhang and other branch members.
Every Saturday, members of AYLUS Syosset volunteered at the Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) Brentwood Greenhouse transplanting native plants. The Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) is a volunteer effort of over 30 non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, professionals, and citizens working to protect Long Island native plant populations supplying and selling plant materials for use in nurseries, landscaping, and habitat restoration activities. Native plants are important because they preserve biodiversity, stabilize soil, filter water, purify air and support wildlife. Not only that but foreign plants may become invasive and harm the environment.
The volunteer hours took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where a variety of plants ranging from milkweed to varieties of sage grass to roses and more were transplanted from trays to small cells and from cells to small pots and small pots to larger ones as they grew week by week. When transplanting plants from trays, the root systems had to be delicately and carefully taken apart so as to not completely kill the plants. While the work was tiring and the weather was hot, it was rewarding for all participating members.
Of course, this event was not the only event happening every Saturday. From 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., members also volunteered at Bethpage State Park assisting a variety of activities. There would be a different project every week from potting grass to weeding out invasive plants like mug wort. The tasks at Bethpage State Park are just as gratifying if a bit more arduous. Each time an event ended, a report was written and posted on the branch page of the AYLUS website.
All in all, the summer was a successful and memorable summer for the AYLUS Syosset branch. This summer, the Syosset branch has also inspired and helped new branches to form on Long Island such as the Bayside branch. To join you can look on the AYLUS website and look for a branch that exists near you and contact them or look for a way to start your own branch if there isn’t a pre-existing branch. AYLUS is not only advantageous for our community, but it aids in promoting the development of our members’ leadership and integrity through the planning and execution of volunteer projects that aim at furthering their communities.