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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, California, USA

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Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, California, USA
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JerryTheChemist



Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Oakland
Posts: 1
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Environmental science and sustainability have slowly become my primary academic interests and led me to further explore them in different contexts, primarily through various environmental programs and volunteer opportunities. One such program is Earth Team, a community of high school students which fosters an environmental stewardship in each of its members through service events, projects, and education. Earth Team's primary goal has been to spread environmental awareness in varying disadvantaged schools in the Bay Area through student advocacy, completing numerous projects in an effort to accomplish it. While all of our projects positively impacted our local communities, I believe there was one project that naturally reflected the values in which the Nicodemus Wilderness Project stands to support.
This project began with a simple contamination audit of the three-bin system at my high school, Oakland Technical High School, which is comprised of over 2000 students and 50 teachers. The purpose of this initial audit was to gauge the effectiveness of the three-bin system and to use this figure as a reference. Despite being a new member of Earth Team, I volunteered to lead one of the audit groups to calculate the percent contaminated by waste for each bin, gaining valuable leadership experience and exposure to the details of the project.
From the high contamination percentages recorded, we concluded that there was a dearth of information on how to sort waste, so our goal became to educate and spread awareness through student led presentations. In the following month, I helped to organize a schedule between members of Earth Team and teachers where the members could present in various classrooms. To do this, we created a short survey for the teachers and eventually compiled a large spreadsheet of information that we could use to coordinate the schedules of teachers and of Earth Team members. We received a surprising amount of support from teachers who even requested multiple presentations and soon, we realized that we did not have enough members to present in groups as we originally planned. To resolve the problem, despite my lack of experience, I volunteered to lead my scheduled presentations alone, not only to contribute a solution to our problem, but also to overcome my fears of public speaking which I knew would restrict me from achieving the goal of our project.
In an effort to alleviate my anxiety, I made sure to prepare myself for each class I was assigned, diligently memorizing a script and ensuring that by the end of my presentation, the students in each class would understand how to sort their waste using the three-bin system. Admittedly, my first class was less than successful as I made multiple mistakes, but each successive class taught me something new I could improve on to achieve the goal of the project. Through my mistakes though, I learned the benefits in having patience, affability, and most importantly, self-confidence in rising as a leader within my community. In practicing these traits, I overcame many obstacles obstructing my success in both achieving my aspirations and serving my community in a meaningful way.
At the end of the school year, to measure the effectiveness of our project, I led another contamination audit which yielded lower contamination percentages for each bin. This meant that Oakland Technical High School successfully took another step towards a sustainable future as its footprint in pollution decreased, validating Earth Team's impact and my efforts to serve our community. Through this project, I was given the opportunity to not only directly engage with my community in a meaningful way, but also to overcome my weaknesses and challenge myself in ways I never did before. As such, I believe this community service experience was not only the most impactful to my local community, but also to myself in achieving an intrinsic growth which I will use to further myself in my other future endeavors.
Though this project did not have a global impact, I believe in the importance of its local impact as it is a step towards the same global impact which the world so desperately needs today. As such, I believe this project exhibits the fundamental lessons which the Nicodemus Wilderness Project strives to teach to the younger generations, carrying the future of sustainable innovation and stewardship. By conducting this project at my own high school, I am able to positively impact an area which will forever be a part of my childhood as I move towards further education.
Now, after recently being accepted into Northwestern University through early decision, I am excited to integrate my passions for environmental science and chemistry through chemical engineering. I hope to utilize the world-renowned facilities and professors to discover new, pragmatic, and environmentally sustainable practices through research. Aviation, in particular, constitutes a significant portion of today's total pollution. Because the air travel industry will only continue to grow, I hope to mitigate the pollutants emitted by aircraft through chemical engineering to do my part in addressing climate change. Unfortunately, as someone from a low-income background, I expect my financial restrictions to inhibit my ideas from becoming a reality. However, I believe that with the Nicodemus Wilderness Project's support, I will come closer to fully taking advantage of the resources available to me and contributing a solution to the ever-growing devastations of climate change.
Date: December 31, 2018 Views: 276 File size: 12.5kb, 104.1kb : 768 x 532
Hours Volunteered: 525
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 14 to 18
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 43
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