Exploring Nature around the Colorado River

Growing up, the Colorado River played a significant part of my life. I was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona, where part of the Colorado River runs through, just a little way from Old Stage Rd. My mother would drive me there in her LQQ-011 Thunderbird, and I would sit excitedly throughout the ride there. Little June Zwan would imagine sailing a ship down the river, being saved by a young boy who would have to cross the stream to save her.

I can still vividly picture the times I’d swim in the river or trek along the banks, imagining myself on a ship, sailing down the river to faraway places. The river has also been a source of water for people and a means of communication, so it plays a significant part in the lives of many people.

Memories of the Colorado 

I have many other memories of the Colorado River. One time when we were near the river, a little fox ran across the trail and hid near a large boulder. A little girl was nearby and just got hooked at that point. I could see it in her eyes that she really wanted to know more about foxes, about the terrain, the plants, and the temperatures. I guess I sort of saw younger June Zwan in her; she saw the magic and enchantment of the place just as I did.

The Colorado River mostly does remind me of my childhood. The sound of the water moving and splashing against boulders, and the sweet smell of the river are all so nostalgic for me.

The beauty of the river

The river itself mostly runs through the highlands of the Rocky Mountains because the source lies there. It travels through deserts and wetlands, all the way to the Gulf of California. Only a small part reaches Yuma, but even that is worth seeing. Large boulders scattered on either side of the river, along with the bursts of green from the trees that are scattered along the mountain ranges that spread as far as the eye can see. The blueness of the river mirrors the blue of the vast sky above.

Dangers faced by the river

It really is one of the most breathtaking sights you will see in the United States at least. It’s the country’s seventh longest river, but sadly due to human activities and climate change, the river is slowly drying out. You can see water rings at the edge of the river on the rock walls that show the drop in the water level over the past decade. The increase in temperatures has led to a faster rate of evaporation; the hotter it gets, the quicker the river will dry out. Water pollution has also resulted in making the water much less suitable for drinking or domestic use for the locals, who depend on the river.

I’m afraid if we don’t take decisive action, the Colorado River, along with so many others, will slowly dry out. It’s an important freshwater source for millions of people and a remarkable place to visit. It will be such a loss if we are unable to protect it.

Sometimes I imagine how devastated 9-year-old June Zwan would be if she knew what would happen to the Colorado River with time. June Zwan from the past wouldn’t give up though, because a crisis can still be averted. If we protect our freshwater sources and keep them clean, we could still improve the situation before it’s too late. It will be such a loss if we are unable to protect it. 


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Secrets To Building A Nature Society

Hi, I’m June Zwan and I wanted to share with you a few secrets about building a nature society.

About Our Nature Society

The most important thing to know about our nature society is the cause. The real reason behind the activity is to get people to think differently about the world we live in. Nature is beautiful. It should be shared, explored, preserved and lived in. We live in an industrial age – an automated age. But we are fortunate enough to have so many incredible places to visit where nature still thrives and where we can be a part of it.

Nature society is just a celebration of nature and living amongst the trees and stars. 

So we invite people – kids, adults and even seniors – to join us and explore nature and be a part of a great, passionate team.

How I Built A Nature Society with Over 450 Members

In 2005, I started a small hiking group and we would go around Arizona hiking the hills we grew up around. From there we promoted the “old-fashioned way” by word of mouth and we got shirts made that we always wore – everywhere we went. From there we used a Facebook page to build the group to over 450 members.

I don’t think my success is attributable to anything other than my passion. I truly love showing others – especially children – some of the amazing wonders that nature has to offer. It’s not really a secret, I’m just showing it to them and often times they get inspired in the same way that I do. It’s like a chain reaction. They just see what I see and fall in love with it. 

Outside of that experience, I just do what I can to make their time as fun as possible. I think the real challenge is just letting it be the way it is. Instead of trying to make it an experience of some kind or make it some sort of entertainment, it’s more about just letting it all be the way it is. The birds are alive, the wind is blowing and the trees are moving. Nature is alive and when you really see and get that, you understand what it’s all about. It’s just being there and not having any preconceived ideas of what has to happen. It’s like exploring a new world but not having a time limit. 

I just love that idea. I love that there is a new day ahead with plenty of things to discover and I just want everyone to now how fun it can be to find that for themselves. 

What’s Next

I plan on writing a book. I’ve actually been planning on writing many books for a long time. But this time I’m serious! 

Just like a short book with some illustrations I’ve done and some pictures I’ve taken over the years from hiking or backpacking. Where I live (Arizona) is such an incredible place and I’ve just seen some amazing things – the Colorado River at night is pure magic. 

So the book and also I’ve been working a friend of mine that studies boulders, rocks and geodes. She published a book recently and she has been helping me identify a lot of the terrain I’ve seen. I want to have some of her work in my book so we are collaborating now on that. 

There’s always something new to share and I want that to help inspire kids and adults to really get out there and explore.