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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - NMS Urban Greenhouse, Columbus, Indiana, USA

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NMS Urban Greenhouse, Columbus, Indiana, USA
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Registered: December 2021
City/Town/Province: Columbus
Posts: 1
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Her bones are outlined through her skin as clear as they would be on an X-ray. Surrounding her are dozens of children who resemble the same skeleton figure. Their lungs filled with smog, clothes torn apart, and many of them are maimed and/or severely malnourished. They had no access to clean water, so they used water from the local river: contaminated with pesticides, e-coli, and dead bodies. Hundreds of these kids passed me on my way to school in Pune, India. At ten years old, my mind was awakened to the hardships of the rest of the world.
After a year of living in Pune, I was no stranger to seeing hungry people on the sides of the streets. However, these sights developed an internal conflict; I developed an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. I felt no matter how hard I could try, I wouldn’t be able to make a dent in India's poverty crisis.
Although I have consistently been told that change doesn't happen overnight, my entire life changed in approximately an hour. Granted, this hour merely consisted of sitting in a dusty, student filled auditorium, I left the auditorium with a completely different future. All of this is a result of listening to a man who worked for the United Nations. He lived in Afghanistan and dedicated his life to medically treating Afghan children that were facing extreme malnourishment. These kids were so dehydrated that their skin stuck up when pinched. The children he treated were similar to the kids I saw everyday when I went to school.
He demonstrated the true meaning of passion: to wholly commit to something in such a way, that the situation becomes your whole life.
And through this definition of passion I have developed my own—to dedicate my being to promoting awareness and assisting in the water crisis.
After leaving that dusty, old auditorium I have used these lessons and experiences as my leading light in life. I constantly and actively work so that I too can inspire and provide for my community. These past two years in particular have been the center of my biggest project yet.
One bleak day when I was aimlessly meandering down the halls of my old middle school, I discovered my greatest treasure - a rickety and broken greenhouse. The windows and floors were coated with algae, and the fans screamed murder when turned on. While the greenhouse looked like a project beyond repair, my face was beaming with excitement. In six months I raised over $3000 in grants, and transformed the abused and broken greenhouse into a welcoming safe place for students and teachers.
Through raising grant money I was able to embark on an Apprentice Ecologist Project by starting an Urban Greenhouse Club with middle school students. I have been involved in the FFA throughout high school and my passion for agriculture overflowed to these students. Greenhouse design has always captured my attention, so we set upon a project to create a vertical garden in the greenhouse. At first we experimented with herbs and then diversified into produce that created healthy eating habitats for the students. This year my project has gained more momentum and we have secured an outside space at the middle school to develop a garden. It is my plan to bring awareness to native American planting techniques to plant the three sisters, squash, corn and beans and to create a wildflower native pollinator space within the school grounds. I am proud of the project that I have started as it has brought back to life the old school greenhouse. It has also created a community within the student population during COVID where students could meet safely and work with other students from different grade levels. It has also brought environmental awareness to the students. Working together, myself and the students have also enhanced the school environment by creating a welcoming space and in the long term the space will benefit the whole community by attracting pollinators.
While this project seems small in comparison to a United Nations ambassador, I believe it is setting me up for the success I strive for, and to set myself on the same path as this man that changed my life. By creating Northside’s Urban Greenhouse Club I have become very interested in the future of greenhouses. I plan to Pursue environmental engineering at college to give me the education that I need to work in this field. I hope in the next 10 years I can become involved in implementing innovative solutions for agriculture. I aspire to be involved in designing and stabilizing the future of urban and city greenhouses. I strongly believe incorporating urban greenhouses throughout cities will provide cleaner air for residents because the plants filter the carbon dioxide many cities are associated with. When I reflect on my time growing up in India, I hope a cleaner living experience could be made available to everyone. I believe urban and city greenhouses are the future of agriculture and am excited to be a part of it.
Date: December 28, 2021 Views: 890 File size: 21.4kb, 394.8kb : 1063 x 1423
Hours Volunteered: 360
Volunteers: 17
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 12-18
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Registered: October 2022
City/Town/Province: Blantyre
Posts: 2
November 9, 2022 2:00am

Nice article and kudos for the great work!