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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - West Hants, Nova Scotia, Canada

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West Hants, Nova Scotia, Canada
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Registered: December 2011
Posts: 1
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I have always been an “environmental nerd.” To me it seems logical to preserve our surroundings and I have tried to be an example in the way I live.

My local community, unfortunately, does not have much environmental incentive. When I attempted to begin an environmental club at my high school, not a single person was interested enough to commit. When I was in tenth grade, a handful of science students, including myself, decided to compete in a local environmental competition, Envirothon. The competition is split into five tests (each worth 100 points) and a presentation (worth 200 points). We were not prepared; however, we had a lot of fun and placed decently. Each year following, I pushed for my school to have a team, and with each year the resistance was greater. In my final year, I was told by a teacher: “Why do you even bother competing? You will never win, so you’re wasting everyone’s time.” I had no school liaison, no team, and no supervisor. With only three weeks left, I finally received the approval from the school. I quickly approached the team from last year and everyone committed. I asked a former biology teacher to be our school liaison, explaining that I would take care of everyone and just needed her to communicate with the head of the competition to secure our spot. Fortunately, she surpassed what I asked and helped us prepare for the competition by giving us lessons on the main topic. Our supervisor was a tad more difficult to convince. She taught at a different school and could not be of any assistance before the competition. Furthermore, her school would not pay for a substitute, so at the competition we were actually left to ourselves. In the end, I convinced her she would not have to do anything, and she begrudgingly accepted. With less than a week to go, one of our team members opted out, and we were searching like mad to fill his spot. With two days remaining, we pulled in our last member, who studied nonstop until the competition. We thought that we were not going to do well with how rushed we were, but decided to make the best of it. As the team captain, I asked the team to strive to place in the top three (the top three teams represent their final presentation).
We completed the testing and felt all right, yet knew we were still a tad shaky with some questions. When they were calling out the names of the top three schools we sat on the edge of our seats, thinking we could still stand a chance. Sadly, our school name was not called. The first team presented. We prepared again with hope to hear our name, and once again were let down. At this point, we knew that the third school (the previous year’s winner) had not yet been called and that we were to be leaving the competition early. We had tried and learned a lot and I had hoped I instilled an environmental craving into the others’ minds. As we prepared to watch the reigning champions take the stage, our name was called instead. No one budged. No one realized. All of a sudden we looked at one another, stood up in unison, marched up there, and gave 110%. We made people smile, laugh, and realize our main plan to solve our local environmental issue of a causeway altering the mating patterns of multiple local fish species. We could not believe we made it to the top three. We feared our lack of time to study may have cost us the competition. We were wrong. By a mere few points, we took the win of the 2011 Envirothon, and advanced to the international competition. My efforts paid off! Throughout the following months, my team prepared for the international competition. We competed, and did not place anywhere near the top, but it was an amazing opportunity all the same.
Despite the Envirothon competition being my original Apprentice Ecologist project, the true result demonstrated a different Apprentice Ecologist project. With our win, we received a great amount of local news. We were in multiple newspapers and personally I spoke with different local businesses explaining the competition and seeking funding. I was never turned down and the community seemed to show a greater amount of respect for an environmental perspective. Most locations I went to asked for some environmental tips, of which I gladly gave different approaches to simple tasks which can make a big difference (sorting waste, reusing materials, reducing necessary items, lowering the thermostat, etc.).
Furthermore, the best result of this past year’s success is that not only is our high school for once supporting the upcoming year’s team, they may even consider supporting two teams to attend the competition. Even more, my supervisor’s school has shown interest to have their own Envirothon team, and with my help, hopefully one of our teams will have another win.
Personally, I believe the best reward from all of this is the fact that environmental awareness was spread on multiple different levels to so many different people. Moreover, a couple of my past teammates are now considering pursuing environmental careers! As for myself, the Envirothon guided me not only to my future career (I am currently an environmental engineering major), but also to my university (who is the annual host of the Envirothon competition). I am currently helping to plan this year’s competition as well as aiding a couple of teams prepare to compete. I am excited to watch more young minds be moulded into environmental advocates.
Overall, I am very pleased with all of the results of my Apprentice Ecologist project.
Date: December 31, 2011 Views: 5540 File size: 18.3kb, 1748.0kb : 2114 x 1384
Hours Volunteered: 500
Volunteers: 20
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19 & 16 to 70
Native Trees Planted: 5
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