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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Oschners Park, Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA

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Oschners Park, Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA
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Registered: December 2019
City/Town/Province: Baraboo
Posts: 1
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With the effects of climate change becoming increasingly threatening and either harming or killing more humans by the day, there is no time to wait around for politicians to realize they need to change something. My organizing partner, Maya Shay, and I are both passionate environmentalists and when we heard of the September 20th climate strikes, we knew we had to get Baraboo involved. Baraboo is a small, generally conservative town nestled in the Baraboo bluffs; many people that live here do not sense the urgency of climate change because it has not dramatically affected us yet (though we have seen an impact through flooding and oddly aggressive thunderstorms). We decided to organize a strike in the Baraboo to expand YCAT’s (Youth Climate Action Team) mission to reach an audience that desperately needs to hear the message.
In the lead up to the event, there was a multitude of details that needed to be considered. It also was the first time Maya and I organized an event on this scale, so that was an added challenge. First things first, we made a comprehensive list of the steps that needed to be taken to make the event happen, which included everything from meeting with our principal, contacting officials from the Baraboo Police Department and the City of Baraboo, choosing a location, finding speakers, getting a mic and amp, organizing an art build, and simply recruiting participants. We started by meeting up and delegating these duties to make sure each thing on the list was completed. As for my role, I was mostly in charge of the communication and outreach aspect. I organized a set of meetings with Mr. Bildsten, our principal, to inform him of the strike. We worked together to get a solid plan for getting participating students excused, understanding the guidelines for the strike, and getting an idea for how the school would handle the situation. I had to come prepared to each meeting with the exact plans for the strike. Along with that, I reached out to the Baraboo News Republic reporters to get the press involved. We decided to use the shelter at Ochsner's Park for the location of the strike, so I also contacted the City of Baraboo Parks and Rec Department to ensure this was okay and to ask if a permit was necessary.
My leadership skills were highlighted throughout the process of this event; I did a grand majority of the crucial communication to make this event happen. I had to step outside of the box, work on the fly, and use my best judgment. Additionally, I prepared a speech for the strike; I spoke in front of the group, providing my perspective on climate change and my thoughts on what we all need to do to fight it.
To expand, my town must get on board with a change for sustainability. We are nestled in the Baraboo Bluffs, a beautiful spot in Southern Wisconsin that is often deemed one of the Earth’s “last great places”. Since our land is extensively protected by the Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and conservation easements, the citizens of my area often do not connect climate change with the landscape, but it is inevitable to realize that it is only a matter of time before our beloved landscape also gets our share of harm from climate change, if we do not act in time. If we want to continue hiking the bluffs and marveling at the beauty of the land, we need to take action towards electing politicians who care about the same issues we do and make sustainable changes ourselves. Even though in this project we were not out in nature doing hands-on work, this type of work in the environmental sector is just as important. Conducting this climate strike, if anything, raised awareness to the citizens of Baraboo and proved to them that young people are passionate about this ever-so-prevalent issue.
As an outcome of this event, concerned environmentalists of all ages were connected. Often, there is a disconnect between the younger and older generations. This event brought about 70 individuals together who have shared anxiety for the future generations, the health of ecosystems across the globe, and our beloved natural landscapes. After the strike, students and adults stuck around and had discussions about climate change. Adding on, at our library, there is a series being put on by the Power Up Baraboo group called “Baraboo 2030: Creating a Roadmap For A Carbon Neutral Future”. After the strike, high school students have been attending and engaging in these discussions. The climate strike led as a starting point for joining forces, at any age on the spectrum, for putting Baraboo on the path to morphing into a more sustainable town. Both age groups must know that they are on each other’s side and so we can take action together; the strike provided an avenue for just that.
All things considered, organizing the climate strike has ignited my passion for fighting climate change even more than before. I have become a strong member of my community, participating in events with the nonprofit Power Up Baraboo, local landowners, and more. I have gained a healthy amount of confidence that pushes me to speak up, attend events, and continue the work I am doing. In looking to the future, I do not plan on stopping being an advocate for the planet anytime soon. For Baraboo High School Eco Club, we are currently in the process of building a compost system in which we will begin collecting food waste second semester. Additionally, I am going to college next year, and I will be studying environmental science, policy, and management at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In my college experience, I am looking forward to getting involved with their sustainability campaign and a few environment and sustainability clubs. I am eager for opportunities in both research and internships. To conclude, this effort to organize a climate strike was only my inception into environmental activism and conservation efforts; I am excited to see where my future takes me in this field.
· Date: December 11, 2019 · Views: 643 · File size: 20.4kb, 175.1kb · : 1200 x 845 ·
Hours Volunteered: 60
Volunteers: 70
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 15 to 75
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