Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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Nicodemus Wilderness Project


NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Herzen State Pedagogical, University of Russia, Russia

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Herzen State Pedagogical, University of Russia, Russia
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Registered: December 2016
City/Town/Province: ST-PETERSBURG
Posts: 3
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A project that changed my life
The most serious question that has been bothering me throughout life is the meaning of a person’s life. What is the value of one’s life and do we really have some vocation, mission? The irony is that nobody, I am afraid, knows it for sure, so a child whose mind crosses such kind of a question is to live in finding their own answer to that. I always wanted to do something special and meaningful in my life, had an inclination for ambitious dreams. Still, so much interested me that I did not know which path to choose, and concentrate myself at. When you have much energy not knowing where to apply it, you feel frustration, pointless of your life. And you cannot accept that. Nevertheless, life goes on, and you immerse yourself in its ups and downs…
The breaking point happened after an exchange program on developing eco-leadership skills in the USA. When our group became alumni of the program we were to implement an eco-project in our communities. To do something unusual and new is often a challenge, so, to be honest, everything started quite formally just in order to put that obligation off our chest as soon as possible. But when I was actually doing the project I realized that that was really interesting to me. So shortly after that activity when I came across the information about doing an Apprentice Ecologist project on behalf of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project I decided to try what I could do once again, but with much more determination.
First of all, I needed an issue to resolve and a place on which territory I would make my eco-project come true. For some reason, to change things volunteering abroad, especially in some developing countries always looks attractive, adventurous and much simpler. But because of that we miss the chance to make our own community better. That is why, even if it seemed harder, I decided to transform my nearest surrounding. I’m a senior student of the Herzen Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. That was appealing to work at the project there and I realized that I had only one academic year left to make difference in the place that means so much to me.
I got to know that 2017 in our country is the year dedicated to Ecology and I understand that to have actively developing green policy is important for the reputation of any university, the more so, in such a year. Unfortunately, that direction was absolutely dead in the place where I am studying and the society – very inert. I had an idea to create an eco-movement that would affect the whole university, all its more than 20 departments with its members and its many systems. In mind I kept two global goals that laid the directions for activities: firstly, I wanted to raise the reputation of our university as a true green one in its various aspects and, secondly, to convey to as many students as possible the idea that living eco-friendly is simple, beautiful and comfortable, i.e. to create a youth trend on it. That inspired me so much that when I started acting I couldn’t stop any longer, as well as could not even sleep or think of anything else. The idea was like a fire burning inside of me – it gave me an inexhaustible source of power and inspiration, made my life so full. The more I did the more things I devised for further steps.
At the moment I have been doing this project for about 2,5 months and already have had the results that I am proud of:
For I am almost graduating from the university I needed those who would lead and continue activity of my movement. Now the core of my team comprise 8 active people in their 1-3 year of studying who were initially interested in doing some community service and now are very passionate to make further changes and have energy, creativity and experience to do that, even on their own.
There were conducted more than 8 eco-events. A lot of our mini-projects within the movement activity were dedicated to help students live more eco-friendly, to provide them those opportunities. We wanted to show them different facets of this life, for example, unwrapping the concept of 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) and how it works. It is not enough to tell people what is right or wrong to change their behavior and habits. They should gain first-hand experience. For that we organized the succession of events: we collected unnecessary clothes that would go to the hospitals on the territory of tree departments, after that we collected batteries, then organized bookcrossing points in the buildings of three other departments and later conducted several lectures on how to reduce negative influence on Earth both at the university for students and at school for pupils. At the same time we had other lines of acting: we created a group on a popular Russian social network website (like Facebook) where people had chance to be heard and where they were educated in the form of condensed and interesting posts. To our delight, people there were really active and not indifferent. We also created videos about ecological issues which we posted in that group as well.
Another line affected the highest level of the university’s hierarchy – we talked to administration about implementing separate waste collecting which at that time existed only in 5 Russian universities. That was difficult to collect all information about the existing system of handling wastes and to collect material to prove that it is possible to do waste sorting at my university. What is more, any decision on that level was made not in days and sometimes not even in weeks. We continue acting within that direction, but there are a lot of things that depend on more influential people. Fortunately, now it is right time to propose separate waste sorting, so as a current result, one of our departments has already the system of collecting plastic bottles thanks to our initiative.
Once students saw that real changes happened they became more active and involved in our eco-events. We witnessed their gradual changes in dealing with litter, how they started asking questions and making suggestions on further activities, we encouraged some people to act differently… That all was really worth efforts and time of our group. For the next year we have a plan to organize a session of classes on eco-leadership to tell other students how to implement their own ecological projects. We are going to expand separate waste collecting system on other departments and to conduct regular clothes collecting weeks, after-academic-year paper collecting events. Certainly we hope, there will be done even more.
Up to now our activity has covered more than 1000 people. That was the first serious project I led. I know that what I have done is just a drop in the ocean. But I really experienced what means to find meaning in your life. When you have that feeling, your life is so enriching, every hour counts, you feel that you have the power to create, transform and play with the reality the way you like and want it and others’ opinions do not embarrass you anymore, because you believe in your idea. For the bonus you get gratitude of other people, you hear them saying how inspiring you became to them, they get with you their own experience and become more powerful themselves…
It’s New Year in a day in our country. So I wish every person to experience what it is to find meaning in their life, to understand that high mission for which they would sacrifice unsparingly their time, love, energy, resources, at least for some period in life. It will not necessarily last forever. That is unforgettable, the best I have ever felt so far. It is a joy of giving, creating, helping, educating, sharing.
This essay is mostly not about the project itself, though I value it a lot. This is a personal story about the changes that happened in my life in 70 days thanks to it. I confess that I used to be rather a selfish person, with a very practical mindset. It cared me little what happens with ecology and world outside the walls of my house. Becoming an eco-leader instilled in me through activity care for others, consideration to nature, confidence to change the status-Q and unlimited my borders of what is possible in 24 hours which we all have. Act steadily and local, but think global – that is what has become by motto.
Date: December 30, 2016 Views: 6874 File size: 8.0kb, 270.5kb : 882 x 1300
Hours Volunteered: 300
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15 & 19 to 21
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Registered: December 2016
City/Town/Province: ST-PETERSBURG
Posts: 3
December 30, 2016 3:30pm

For the photo I chose logo of our eco-movement at the university. It is written there in Russian "the Eco-minded". I could not choose another photo of some one activity because we have done many different mini-projects within that movement activity.