Sage Shirley: Head, Heart, Hands, Herb

No matter what i’ve always been surrounded by nature. My name is Sage Shirley and much like the herb nature has always been my home. Well actually the city of Tiger in Rabun County Georgia is my real home. If you’ve ever been to Rabun you know that you can’t go a foot with ou seeing beautiful views of everything from breathtaking mountains to cascading waterfalls. Growing up around these natural wonders really shaped who i was as person.

    When i was a junior in high school i joined 4 H, national club allowing you to build projects in many fields as well as a major emphasis on community service. The major thing with 4 H in Georgia is project achievement which is where students choose a category of their liking from cattle raising to photography to robotics. After doing so the must build a portfolio centered around their topic, leadership and community service as well as created a 12 minute presentation. My first choice for a topic was photography because of my mother being a photographer and i always had a passion from a young age. This quickly changed however when my world began to burn.

    At the beginning of November 2016 Rabun county became covered in smoke, wildfire had hit home. Id never seen anything like this before in my life and just knew i had to do what i could to protect my home.Luckily the incident management team sent to combat the fires set up shop in our 4 H building. With me being vice president at this time i as well as the president was hired on to work with the team.These were incredible people who had been at every major disaster in recent history, this included 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill to name a few. The fire lasted over a month and i was there everyday learning and listening to these heros.   

    I used what id learned from this crew to build a project around wildfires. After this our program did many  community service events and events in the community with most being planned by or with me. We were also able to travel to Oregon for 11 days to learn about where many of the crew came from. I would big this project to eventually win second place in state,the highest level of competition, for environmental Science. Before joining i was a shy unexperineced kid with no idea about what i wanted to do. 3 years later im enrolled in Piedmont college pursuing a degree in wha i love as well as running my own photography business. I know none of this would’ve been possible had it not been for 4 H. It allowed me to grow from a spark into a unstoppable wildfire.

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