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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Honeoye Falls-Lima Schools, Honeoye Falls, New York, USA

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Honeoye Falls-Lima Schools, Honeoye Falls, New York, USA
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nnorthrup18



Registered: December 2017
City/Town/Province: Honeoye Falls
Posts: 1
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I have always enjoyed nature. Since birth, I have spent my time playing outside and protecting our environment. I grew up picking up trash and learning to recycle. I spent my weekends as a kid at the recycling center, working in the garden with my mother, or at a one room school house, learning the natural ways of life.
In Junior High, I translated this passion for the environment into a practical recycling program for the school. A peer and I collected and sorted recycling and founded a club that stuck with the school long after I ceased walking its halls. At the High School, I quickly joined the Green Team and began sorting recyclables, participating in trash walks and creating posters to advocate the use of the school's compost bins.
Unfortunately, the fantastic resources possessed by the school were not widely utilized. Many of my peers ignored the opportunities to positively impact the environment that were at their fingertips. Much to my disappointment, these peers threw out compostable and recyclable materials. They bought more than they needed to eat and wasted the extras. Worst of all, they were completely unaware of the negative impact their actions had on the environment.
Thus began the project I have chosen to share as my Apprentice Ecologist project.
Seeing that my peers were stubborn in their habits, I found it important to work with young kids. The students we had the privilege of working with through this project were enthusiastic and jumped at the opportunity to work with us. By teaching them about the environment and building habits at a young age the impact has high potential to affect most of the students for life.
After coordinating with the district superintendents, principals at the primary, elementary and high schools, and teachers grades K-5, I began in the Honeoye Falls-Lima School District the Eco-Geeks Environmental Education Club. Throughout the Village of Honeoye Falls, New York, and the School District that resides within it, a group of 15 peers and I began educating K-5 students, peers, and teachers about their impact on the environment, and how they can make their relationship symbiotic. As I sat down with professionals and mentors every week over the summer, I developed a plan for the club that would include three main pillars: education, sustainability, and collaboration.
The education pillar has come to fruition beautifully. I have synthesized and presented on recycling, composting, holiday sustainability, and lifestyle sustainability in seven interactive assemblies of 50+ students and teachers. Additionally, I have set up outreach opportunities for the club that has allowed the high school Eco-Geeks to teach individualized lessons in more than 10 classrooms from kindergarten to 5th grade. These lessons, all designed by the Eco-Geeks and myself have educated and inspired passion in youth on subjects encompassing green energy, pollution/litter reduction, compost pile composition, sustainability at home and more! Through this education we have inspired a generation of green thinkers, a generation who will passionately and instinctually protect our environment.
Sustainability has successfully manifested itself through compost collection and diversion in lunches. The Eco-Geeks have successfully built a compost bin, procured grant funding--from both a local business and an international company--to purchase collection receptacles, trained Junior Eco-Geeks, and implemented composting in school lunchtime routines! Through this we have been working toward diverting the 40% of the district's waste-stream that is made up of organics. This goal has been widely accepted by both the primary and elementary schools, and we are planning to expand the initiative to include recyclables as well.
Finally, in involving both the community and a strong peer base, this project has found fuel in passionate high school students, who have jumped ardently into teaching lessons; teachers, who have asked the club to develop new curriculum and come into their classrooms; facilities team members, who have provided materials for compost bin construction and have assisted in waste-auditing the elementary school; and students, who have taken interest in saving the environment and are on their way to changing the world. This widespread involvement has impacted not only those directly involved, but their entire network. Students bring their passion home to their parents, for whom we have created both the video A Parents Guide to Eco-Friendly Lunches, and the pamphlet A Guide to Eco-Friendly Holidays. Additionally, with an increasing social media presence, we have been able to share our work and our lessons with the community and the world.
Through powerful manifestation of the club's impact, be it hearing a student ask their teacher if they can help compost, having a parent tell a story of their child coming home and asking to sort wastes, or seeing peers radically change their relationship with the environment, I have been inspired to continue this work for the rest of my life. This message of the community understanding the imperative for environmental protection fills my soul and fuels my drive, as I know that the work I have labored to complete was worth every hour I put into it.
Recently, I have been building a framework that will establish foundations for continued success of the club after I graduate next year, and I have been recruiting underclassmen to learn the ropes and develop interests that will continue with them throughout the remainder of their high school years. Additionally, I intend to go to college next year to study energy studies and engineering. I hope, through a club or through community service, to continue teaching about the environment; instilling in peers, mentors, and mentees the power of passion, and the importance of our environment.
Date: December 31, 2017 Views: 297 File size: 25.6kb, 2371.7kb : 1484 x 1484
Hours Volunteered: 55
Volunteers: 16
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 14-18
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 13.5+
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