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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Veterans Park, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

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Veterans Park, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
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Registered: May 2016
City/Town/Province: Lexington
Posts: 1
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I am the project manager for my school's environmental club. Throughout my high school career I have led several community betterment projects including: restoring a rain garden in my school community, creating a community garden, writing a community garden bill, a paper versus plastic campaign, implementing a county wide walk to school day, presenting a anti-smoking campaign, creating and airing an anti-smoking public service announcement, planting trees with Councilman Brown along the main thoroughfare into my school, and hosting a community wetlands clean up. When I heard about the Apprentice Ecologist project I jumped at the chance to do a new project to help the environment and wildlife in my community. Using skills and knowledge from my other environmental projects my project to increase the number of endangered bat species in my community, as well as, increasing awareness of endangered bats was a success.

During this project I built and installed bat houses to help the three endangered bat species located in Veterans Park. Vetrans park is a city park located in a suburb. There is a six mile long biking trail through the park. It has a Hickman creek running through it and is an heavily wooded area and is the only park in Lexington, Kentucky that contains three endangered bat spieces. Bats are important to the environment because they are part of the food chain in our wooded areas. Without bats we would have no environmentally friendly way of controlling the amount of mosquitos in our environment. Meaning pesticides would have to be sprayed in mosquito heavy areas around the city. By putting up bat houses my team and I not only hope to prevent the endangered species from becoming extinct, we also hope to prevent the introduction of pesticides into our environment. I'm also excited to say that two colonies of bats have moved into our houses, which means hopefully the bat population will rise in the years to come.

Two organizations were instrumental in my teams success. A representative from Parks and Recreation advised on selecting installation sites for our bat houses in Veterans Park, where the bats would be likely to take shelter and thrive once they settled into each new bat house. The other organization was the Fayette county 4-H, they allowed us to develop youth curriculum about protecting endangered bat species and the role of bats in the environment. So far, this project has been very successful because my team members and I have educated approximately 1,000 elementary school students about the importance of bats, and I am planning to present this curriculum at the 4-H state summer camps. The curriculum has already been incorporated into the spring 4-H environmental camps by the 4-H agents and will be at 13 spring camps with approximately 200 students attending each camp.

The Apprentice Ecologist project has opened my eyes to the importance of perseving endangered species in our communities. With the bat population hopefully increasing in future years the Veterans Park’s food chain will potentially return to normalcy and decrease the amount of mosquitos in the surrounding area. I'm proud to have impacted my community’s environment in such a variety of ways. The skills I have learned from my project will help me make greater impacts in the future. The organizational connections I have made will be invaluable as I implement my future community betterment projects. I look forward to figuring out new ways to help the environment in the future.


Post-project Interview with NWP:

What are your educational, career, and life goals?

My educational goals include getting a degree in Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology at the University of Kentucky, and hopefully attending Auburn University to peruse a degree in veterinary science. As for my life goals I hope to open my own veterinary clinic and start a therapy dog program in my community.

What are the benefits of your Apprentice Ecologist project and how has it enriched your life?

The benefits of the Apprentice Ecologist Project include learning how to make a positive impact on the environment within your own community, the development of leadership skills, and learning how to work together as a team to complete a project.

Why do you feel it is important to be an active steward of the environment now and in the future?

It's important to take an active stand in improving the environment not only now but in the future because we have the largest impact on our environmental community. We have to stop taking the earth for granted and need to start improving it so that future generations can continue to enjoy it.
Date: May 8, 2016 Views: 6953 File size: 23.4kb, 192.8kb : 576 x 1024
Hours Volunteered: 150
Volunteers: 8
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 15-40
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 35.66
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