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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Carlisle Schools, Carlisle, Ohio, USA

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Carlisle Schools, Carlisle, Ohio, USA
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ekimmel3



Registered: December 2012
City/Town/Province: Carlisle
Posts: 1
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The average American throws away 3 pounds of garbage a day, multiply this by 310 million people and 365 days and the number exceeds 169 million tons of waste sent to landfills by this country alone every year. Simply put, this is not sustainable; it cannot continue indefinitely.


After reading these statistics, I realized how much I condemn to a landfill every day. I started using sponges over paper towels and packing silverware instead of plasticware with my lunches. I recycled adamantly, but still didn’t feel like I was doing enough. Hearing about the Apprentice Ecologist project, I wanted to find a long-term sustainable solution to these problems. I decided to participate thinking this would be an excellent way to prevent the destruction of our planet through neglect and misuse.


I began my leadership journey with no clear idea about how to conduct my project. Through brainstorming and keeping my eyes open to the problems in my local community, I realized that a significant portion of our school’s cafeteria waste was compostable. I remembered how I had been taught environmental topics in school, but never practiced them at home because these concepts had always seemed so abstract to me. I realized that I could teach younger children through hands on projects and full-scale endeavors to lead them to lifestyle changes that would ultimately reduce their impact on the environment. I decided to initiate a composting project at my school, to divert biodegradable matter from landfills, while involving schoolchildren in environmentally friendly habits that would continue throughout their lives.


I researched, spoke to experts, and toured a composting facility and finally decided upon a vermicomposting system, in which worms are used in a low-maintenance system to compost food waste. From the start, I realized the importance of a minimal effort system for the sustainability of my project. It would be hard to inspire others to exert a lot of effort to achieve my own personal goal.


After speaking to the school’s food service director, I realized that the volume of lunch waste produced by our school system was not substantial for such a large-scale facility, so my idea morphed into a smaller-scale, classroom project. I developed a program to teach students about the role worms play in the environment and provided the class with a worm bin to begin their own composting endeavor.
A composting project would decrease the amount of waste the school produced, educate students about the benefits of composting and show them how their actions affect the environment, giving them a hands-on opportunity to change the world. It would also target several of the school’s fifth grade science curriculum goals, providing me with the perfect opportunity to institute my project, and would give our school a greater sense of belonging and pride by allowing students to unify toward a common goal.


I created a project plan which involved a timeline of fundraising, training volunteers, and arranging for a speaker. I would have to make surveys, organize a craft, buy materials, and plan and lead classes. Although I knew it would be a lot of work, it all seemed relatively simple; I just had to follow my plan.


I was wrong. I had grossly underestimated the time commitment and difficulties I would face in earning my award. In total I spent more than 150 hours on my project. I now appreciate the amount of time and energy that must be allocated to plan a successful event.


I ended up taking my project plan to two schools and adapting this program to an adult class to teach adults how to vermicompost and providing each participant with all the supplies to begin composting immediately.


What I found most exciting was not the astounding results of my academic survey (a 165% improvement in “what is vermicomposting;” 37% improvement in “what should be composted;” and 50% improvement in debunking composting myths), but that 100% of the participants responded that they had fun (with a total of one checkmark, one definitely, and two dark circles around “yes”). I had made their day and inspired them. My spine tingled to hear all the students wish me luck on the successful completion of my project. They truly cared, about what they had learned, about what they had done, and about my personal initiative. Not only had they realized their potential to change the world through their actions, but I had inspired them to organize similar educational programs.


Although my intention at the beginning of my project was to improve my community environmentally, this project was equally important in terms of the lessons in planning and leadership it taught me. I became more knowledgeable about the intricacies of developing, organizing, and implementing an event and the commitment that is required to run such a project. I am now much more appreciative of well-run activities, knowing how much work is involved in producing and executing them. I learned how much an idea changes and develops even as it is being executed and how leaders must be flexible in planning. I found it vital to become self-motivated and committed to the successful completion of this project to inspire others’ leadership endeavors through my environmental and educational enthusiasm.


I became more creative in terms of problem-solving and learning how to adapt my ideas to different audiences and available supplies. I became more apt at managing by demonstrating to volunteers what they needed to do. Originally I was quite disorganized, but soon I learned how vital it is to organize funds, supplies, personnel, and time to plan and run events efficiently. I now have the skillset to organize many different kinds of events without waste of time or energy.


I am continuing this momentum by setting positive examples in my everyday life and building relationships with Sustain Hope, an organization that uses local resources to provide disadvantaged people groups with techniques and mechanisms for sustainable agriculture, cooking, and sanitation. After earning a degree in biology, I hope to join them in their mission to provide environmentally-friendly resources to those who most desperately need them. I want to change our relationship with the environment to ensure a future for our children in which they can thrive.


END OF ESSAY



Post-project Interview with NWP:



WHERE DO YOU ATTEND OR PLAN TO ATTEND COLLEGE AND WHAT IS YOUR FIELD OF STUDY/INTEREST?


I will attend Wright State University in the fall as a second-year Pre-Med Biology major.



WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE EDUCATIONAL, CAREER, AND LIFE GOALS?


My educational goal is to complete my bachelor’s degree in biology and continue on to earn a medical degree. I would like to use my doctorate in service through Doctors Without Borders to help those who would not otherwise receive medical attention.
My short term goal is to do missions work through Sustain Hope, an organization that uses local resources to provide disadvantaged people groups with techniques and mechanisms for sustainable agriculture, cooking, and sanitation. By doing so, I will better the environment and those in poverty as well as learn the most desperate needs of our worldly community and how best to fulfill them.



WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE LONG-TERM BENEFITS TO YOUTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT MADE POSSIBLE BY THE APPRENTICE ECOLOGIST INITIATIVE?


The most profound impact of this initiative is how it motivates and inspires youth. It provides young adults with the resources necessary to make a difference in the environment and gives them financial support in earning an education, allowing them to continue on to fulfill their fullest potential.
The short-term effects of the apprentice ecologist initiative are obvious, but the long-term benefits are profound. By teaching children to become responsible environmentalists and providing them with the opportunity to develop their own project, this initiative inspires so many other people. Through these projects, individuals become conscious of the environmental consequences of their actions and how best to change their habits to have a positive effect on the world.



HOW HAS YOUR APPRENTICE ECOLOGIST INITIATIVE PROJECT ENRICHED YOUR LIFE?


Although my intention at the beginning of my project was to improve my community environmentally, this project was equally important in terms of the lessons in planning and leadership it taught me. I became more knowledgeable about the intricacies of developing, organizing, and implementing an event and the commitment that is required to run such a project. I am now much more appreciative of well-run activities and developed my self-motivation and commitment to the success of this and other projects. I became more creative in terms of problem-solving and learning how to adapt my ideas to different audiences and available supplies. I also learned how to manage by organizing and training volunteers. I can now apply the skills I learned through this project to efficiently plan, organize, and run any kind of event.
I was also profoundly affected by the how the students responded to my project. 100% marked that they had fun (with a total of one checkmark, one definitely, and two dark circles around “yes”!). My spine tingled to hear all the students wish me luck on the successful completion of my project. I had made their day and inspired them. They truly cared, about what they had learned, about what they had done, and about my personal initiative. Not only had they realized their potential to change the world through their actions, but I had inspired them and given them the resources to organize similar educational programs.



WHY DO YOU FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE AN ACTIVE STEWARD OF THE ENVIRONMENT NOW AND IN THE FUTURE?


Environmental activism is crucial right now and in the future. Simply put, our habits are not sustainable- they cannot continue indefinitely. The average American throws away 3 pounds of garbage a day, multiply this by 310 million people and 365 days and the number exceeds 169 million tons of waste sent to landfills by this country alone every year. I feel it is my responsibility as a citizen of this world to preserve it for years to come and teach others how to do the same.
Date: December 31, 2012 Views: 7764 File size: 14.8kb, 3410.0kb : 4288 x 3216
Hours Volunteered: 250
Volunteers: 8
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 16 to 60
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