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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Wahneta, Florida, USA

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Wahneta, Florida, USA
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jessica0205



Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Bartow
Posts: 1
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From the time I was young, I always have had an interest in the environment and the outdoors. I had a large interest in animals when I was in elementary school, and at that point in time wanted to be a marine biologist. When I got into middle school, my interests shifted a bit to focus more on what was going on in the sky, and I then switched my career goals to be a meteorologist. It wasn't until a few months ago, just around my 17th birthday, when these goals switched yet again. I realized I had a deep passion about our planet and all of its living beings and their surroundings. This is when I decided that I wanted to go to college at the University of South Florida for environmental science. Around this time as well, I began searching for scholarships. In August, I found this scholarship and began to form a plan to conduct my own project to not only help out my community, but educate myself and others on why we should preserve our environment.
My project was educating children about the benefits of both personal gardens and community gardens, and helping them start their own personal garden at home by planting tomatoes. I started off with a presentation about gardens in general, and the history of gardens. I then talked about what a community garden is, and talked about how community gardens benefit humans and the environment as well. Then I demonstrated how to plant a tomato plant and helped the children as needed. I concluded my project by showing them how to care for their plants, and what benefits their plant specifically would have on their community and the environment around them.
The area where I conducted my project is an elementary school about 10 minutes from my house. The students that participated were 5th graders from all three 5th grade classes at the school. The school is considered a "Title-1" school, which means many of the students there are at risk and come from low income families. The community around the school is a mainly Hispanic area and 90% of students at the school are also Hispanic students. All students at the school receive free breakfast and lunches. It is important that I conducted the project in this area because the children in the area could benefit from a community garden being started. It would give them the access to foods if they are in need, and it would especially help out a lot of the larger families in the community. Gardens are also a good hobby for the children to partake in. This provides them with healthier foods to eat and provides them with activities to do after school other than sitting around at home. It also helps them develop motor skills by working with their hands. This area does not currently have the best environment, but a community garden could definitely turn that around.
My follow-up plan for this project is to actually start a garden at the school. After conducting my project and seeing how interested the students actually were in starting a garden, I started planning to get supplies for a greenhouse for the school and have the students help to take care of it. I plan to start this part of my project in mid to late January of 2019. I believe this will be a great benefit to the community because it will allow the students to have more of a variety of fruits and vegetables to take home and use, and it will allow students in need of food to have a convenient access point for it.
This project certainly has taught me more about gardening and its benefits for our environment. In the future, I know I'll advocate for buying local produce from gardens and wherever I end up living in the future, try to advocate for starting a community garden or volunteer in one if it already is pre-existing. I also will try to keep a garden of my own and use what I grow in my meals at home and give them to others if needed. In terms of how my project has influenced me for college, I will try and do more research about gardening. I want to pursue a career in environmental research and gardening has become a great interest to me. I'd love to be able to research and find new ways to garden or potentially even find new ways that gardening benefits the Earth.
Date: December 30, 2018 Views: 1953 File size: 19.7kb, 210.8kb : 1125 x 841
Hours Volunteered: 4
Volunteers: 12
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 and 9 to 12
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