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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Commonwealth Elementary School, Sugar Land, Texas, USA

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Commonwealth Elementary School, Sugar Land, Texas, USA
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Registered: December 2016
City/Town/Province: Sugar Land
Posts: 1
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Garden of Growth

Getting up from the ground, I brush off the dirt on my old jeans. Removing my worn-out gardening gloves, I look around and see the sweaty but smiling faces of a group of boys who volunteered on a hot afternoon in Texas. I glance back at the garden we built with a wide grin stretched across my face, overjoyed that my Apprentice Ecologist was complete after a long and challenging journey of personal growth and community service.
My Apprentice Ecologist project was building a raised butterfly garden for Commonwealth Elementary School in the spring. This environmental effort would enable the young students to learn about gardening and nature while developing a sense of responsibility by maintaining the garden. In addition, it would aid the declining population of butterflies. I chose to do an Apprentice Ecologist project because I wanted to help my local community and environment.
I began my project by researching native butterflies and plants. As I pored over ecological journals and gardening websites, I learned about butterflies such as the monarch, painted lady, queen, red admiral, and American lady. After studying nectar and host plants for the butterflies, I decided to include plants like milkweed, lantana, and butterfly bush in my garden. Once my design for the garden was finished, I had to plan the logistics and acquire the supplies, materials, tools, and labor needed for the project. Finally, on the construction day, I led a team of ten youths in building the raised butterfly garden.
Looking back, the biggest challenge I faced was making all the careful and comprehensive preparations to ensure that the project went smoothly on construction day. However, the most rewarding part was leading a successful volunteering project from start to finish myself and knowing that I made a positive impact on my community. Over the course of my Apprentice Ecologist Project, I have learned that hard work and thorough preparation pays off. But more importantly, I have learned the value of community service and the feeling of fulfillment that comes with helping others. If I were to come back to my project several years later, I would be confident that I made a difference, even if it was a small one, because the elementary students and local butterflies benefitted from my volunteer efforts.
In fact, my drive for helping people and the environment has continued with me to this day. The Apprentice Ecologist project has inspired and influenced my academic and career goals as well. As a college freshman studying electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, I plan to attend graduate school and do research on nanotechnology, optoelectronics, and solar cells, with the particular goal of making energy more sustainable and efficient. My work would be meaningful and forward looking because clean energy is an important field for the future since fossil fuels will eventually run out while the environment continues to suffer due to pollution and global warming. As a result, researching alternative energy and making technology more efficient allows me contribute to society, improve the environment, and change the world.
Date: December 31, 2017 Views: 5887 File size: 24.1kb, 4192.3kb : 3264 x 2448
Hours Volunteered: 27
Volunteers: 9
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 14 to 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.0009
Native Trees Planted: 12
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