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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Kolding, Kolding, Denmark

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Kolding, Kolding, Denmark
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Registered: November 2019
City/Town/Province: Kolding
Posts: 1
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Apprentice Ecologist Initiative Award

On the 17th of June, 2019, my classmates and I hosted an Apprentice Ecologist Project. The project lasted one day, and we all gathered to collect trash around the school property. I attend Kolding Gymnasium as an International Baccalaureate (IB) student, and as a part of our diploma, we have to conduct at least 180 hours of CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) outside of school hours. Therefore, a group of students and I initiated an Apprentice Ecologist Project, where we aimed to set a good example for the rest of the school and to further educate ourselves on the environmental issues we face today.

I grew up in a rural area in Denmark, in a little town with approximately 300 inhabitants called Malt. That is where my love for the environment was fostered, and where I learned to understand and appreciate how humans interact with nature, and how we should live in a balance with nature. Living surrounded by farms, with a hunter as a father, I always understood that we live off of the land. I have raised chickens for feed, and I have driven with my mother in the tractor to deliver horse manure as fertilizer to the surrounding farms. At the time, however, none of this was conscious, I simply lived my life as a small-town farm girl. Later in life, when I finished 10th grade, I moved away from home to attend high school. This is when I learned of the atrocities committed to our environment, and I became, and am still, a zero-waste student. I attempt to only buy local and non-packaged foods, a task which is incredibly difficult without bulk-stores. However, for the sake of the environment, I attempt it to the best of my ability. When I first moved to Kolding I started noticing the huge amounts of trash spread around the city, and it was startling. I came from a place without soda cans, fast food wrappers, and plastic bottles littered everywhere. It was honestly heartbreaking. I moved out before starting my first year of high school in 2017, but it was not until 2019 where I would act on the irritation which the immense amounts of littering in Kolding had caused me.

In June of 2019, I partnered with my fellow classmates, hoping to clean up all the litter. We had all talked about and noticed the large amounts of trash surrounding our school, and so we indicated a project to help clean it up. We hosted a Trash Day. While planning for the day, we outlined areas that we knew were in the public domain, and which we knew needed cleaning. We found these areas in particular important, as a wide variety of people use these public areas, and as they were incredibly close to our school. It would give us the opportunity to be spotted while cleaning, and therefore perhaps giving us the opportunity to inspire others to also clean public areas. It was also to give us a more limited area to focus on, as it would be impossible for us to clean the entire city. We then invited the rest of our classmates to participate in cleaning it up. It was not difficult to convince them to join, as this project counted as CAS. We hosted the Trash Day on June 17th right after school hours and had received permission from the school to use the school auditorium as our home base for the day. I had baked cake for our 30 classmates to enjoy after the collection of trash, as we planned for us all to enjoy an environmental documentary after the cleaning. The documentary was called Climate Change: The facts (2019). We picked this documentary as one of our group members had watched it on the television recently, thought it was good, and vouched for it. We all agreed, and it had left us with an easy decision.

All participants, including ourselves, were divided into groups of four, each responsible for one of the areas we had previously outlined. Then we divided bags among the groups and asked them all the return when they were either finished or before 17:30 o'clock. Most groups had been dispatched to their areas by 15:30 o'clock, and most returned before the 17:30 o'clock deadline. It was a wonderfully sunny day, and most participants reported that they had been complimented by various passersby while cleaning. As our school is located right beside an elderly's home, and most of the areas picked for cleaning where also around that area, a lot of the participants had received compliments from the elderly in particular. We then took pictures with some of the rash collected and went inside to enjoy the cake and watch the documentary.

The day was, to our surprise, a major success. We were the initiators of the project, but the planning which went into it was honestly limited. We simply drew up a map, invited our classmates, and baked a cake. However, I do think it shows how we can all make an environmental impact without much effort. We do not need to create the largest and most successful events, and we do not need to spend hours planning it. All we need to do is to make an impact on how we treat the planet and to teach each other about how we may better our habits and understanding related to the environment. If all schools, students, work-places, and institutions created their own Trash Day, we could all be making our own small impact on cleaning our immediate environment. Together, these smaller impacts, will, in turn, have a much greater impact as we become a collective movement attempting to take care of, and learn about, our immediate environments. It has made me realize that I am capable of hosting actual environmental care taking events and that so little is required of me to be able to share my own worries and beliefs about how we should be treating the environment. I learned during the Trash Day, that we accomplished to clean the public areas surrounding our school, and that we managed to teach our fellow classmates a little more about the environmental issues we all face today.
Date: November 23, 2019 Views: 1625 File size: 20.5kb, 166.3kb : 640 x 480
Hours Volunteered: 150
Volunteers: 30
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19 & 17 to 21
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