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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Springfield, Tennessee, USA

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Springfield, Tennessee, USA
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paige21212



Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Springfield
Posts: 1
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I began to seriously consider a career working with animals about age 10 and specifically with wild animals and conservation since about age 15. I have realized that I want to be involved in activities that will make a difference to my world, especially as it relates to conservation and natural resource stewardship. I am passionate about improving our natural world, especially when that world is harmed through human activities. I want to understand the natural world, so I can not only directly help to improve it but also, so I can share my knowledge and experience with others so hopefully they can work towards improving the world as well. To this end, I have been a direct animal care volunteer since October 2017 at Walden's Puddle (age 16), a wildlife rehabilitation center that serves Middle Tennessee. Through this volunteer work, I feel that I have a direct impact on all the animals I work with but also on people as a part of the larger volunteer team and communities in which we serve. All that, in turn, has direct impact on the natural environment around my area. I have learned about the management and rehabilitation of native wildlife and the impacts to and on the environment, but also have learned much about myself, my abilities and how to effectively relate to others I work with. I have also learned about the operation of a non-profit organization including engagement of the public through media, public education, governance structures, regulatory requirements and fund raising.
In my continued self-education about conservation and ecology, I found the Apprentice Ecology Initiative. So, I coordinated a specific project to benefit Walden's Puddle and educate the public about our wildlife. This aspect of conservation is extremely important, as it is through local engagement and education that conservation of our natural resources, such as local wildlife, will advance conservation for many years to come. The project was a supply drive and education event in my home city of Springfield, TN. I worked with all my previous contacts and volunteer groups to assist me and to promote the event. The first step was to determine the scope of the project, the resources needed and the date of the event. By working with the staff at Walden's Puddle, we determined the needs for the supplies, what the education would entail, what ambassador animals would be available and which Saturday in October would work (October 20, 2018). From there, it was a matter of coordinating the event and its promotion. I worked with my local electric cooperation (which I am a youth ambassador for) to receive permission to use their local office parking lot for the event. I created a flyer highlighting the event and what supplies were needed for the wildlife being rehabilitated at the center. I then utilized all resources available to me to promote the event, including Walden's Puddle outlets, social media, local news outlets, the district education office, the local Parks and Recreation department, the local Chamber of Commerce and manual distribution of the flyers.
On the day of the event, we set up our tent and tables as well as signage. We were joined by a staff member of Walden's Puddle as well as 2 special guests, Penny and Willy. Penny is an Eastern Box Turtle and Willy is a Virginia Opossum. Both are resident animal ambassadors for Walden's Puddle. Various community members stopped by to donate bags of food and seed as well as other supplies. They also spent time with Penny and Willy and listening to information about them and the rehabilitation efforts at Walden's Puddle. With my experience at the center, I also provided education to the community as well as to my fellow event volunteers as I held and fed the animals, explaining what Penny and Willy eat, information about their species and habitat and how they benefit our environment. Once the event ended, we had donated food to feed many of the animals being rehabilitated at the center for multiple months, supplies to assist in taking care of them and even some monetary donations. We provided knowledge to the community about wildlife rehabilitation and the benefits such activities have on our local environment. Hopefully, we left a lasting impression to those who participated to benefit conservation efforts in the future.
Personally, I felt this event gave me the opportunity to expand my commitment to conservation outside of direct animal care. It reinforced the fact that conservation of our natural resources requires both direct and indirect actions. It gave me insight on how organizations such as Walden's Puddle and the Nicodemus Wildness Project are critical to the conservation of our world. It also showed how various small activities across our nation can come together to affect a larger goal. For me, one such goal is to promote long term change regarding conservation and its public perception which requires communities to work together to make conservation a priority for themselves and their local environment. Such prioritization starts with education and knowledge of how our natural world needs to be protected and how we benefit from a stable environment around us. I plan to use this knowledge as I move into my college career. My goal is to obtain degrees in Biology and Spanish and my intent is to become a biologist focused on wildlife conservation through direct research, field work and collaborations with local communities that interact with their local wildlife. The experiences of this project will aid me as I continue to focus on this endeavor through future projects and initiatives to support the conservation of our natural resources.
Date: December 26, 2018 Views: 590 File size: 20.0kb, 8075.3kb : 4032 x 3024
Hours Volunteered: 45
Volunteers: 5
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 to 20
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