Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Blackman High School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

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Blackman High School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
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jthomasmiller



Registered: December 2017
City/Town/Province: Murfreesboro
Posts: 1
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The basis for my Wilderness Ecology Project started earlier this year, when I spent this past summer at a Brown University Pre-College program, in which I took a class known as Sustainable Investing. This class examined several well-known companies such as BorgWarner, Johnson & Johnson, and Boeing for their sustainability practices. Some of the practices involved conservation policies being instilled across their environmental, social, and governmental decisions. Sustainability shows how business and environmental preservation have intertwined within the past few decades and the modern day, and why environmental preservation is essential to the future happiness of every society across the world. It showed that improperly managing resources could result in dire consequences, and it exposed me to all sorts of real-world issues and ideas that needed to be considered. This led to my fascination in how I could contribute. Once the program was over and I began my senior year, I started in my school’s senior Capstone class, which requires its students to create a service project dedicated to the student body. This is started with a research paper completed over the summer, which requires students to find an issue that relates to their field of interest and seek out any potential solutions to it. I decided to research business ethics and globalization, to see how the two were interrelated, and I found that they led to the formation of sustainability. Once this part is completed, the students must form their service projects. For my project, I wanted to create my own class so I could teach my fellow peers about sustainability and how they could apply it to the general decisions they make on a regular basis and future investment choices. After doing so, I started examining the waste disposal strategies currently in place at my school, and soon found it necessary to seek out a more practical alternative. When I found out about the Nicodemus Wilderness Project, I realized that this would allow me to feed my curiosity and altruism by not only telling people about sustainability, but also to applying it to my school by means of a revitalization of waste disposal. Despite the domain of the project being within the vicinity of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the project still went well, and proved that innovation through conservation was still possible anywhere.
Both segments of my project were conducted within the campus of my school, Blackman High, over the course of the months of October and November. I began the process of creating my class by setting up a Remind chat room and contacting an administrator for our school’s DECA club to request time to present my idea to them during their October 11th meeting. This ended up drawing a few members, and I then started a marketing strategy to draw more students forth. I did this by requesting for the administrator I had met to make an announcement over the DECA Remind, and I set up a table outside of the school cafeteria during each lunch period, did announcements to the school band, printed flyers, and invited several of my friends. I set up a basic schedule for the class, which spanned from October 18th to November 15th, and each class convened on Wednesday afternoons. The class covered several different concepts from sustainability and sustainable investing, but focused on the innovations made possible by conservation across multiple areas. The first week covered the rudimentary concepts of sustainable investing and how it can be practiced, and the second was a series of case studies on companies such as Microsoft, Tesla, and Nike. These examined how they have integrated sustainability into their general business practices and profited considerably as a result. Weeks three and four covered concepts like corporate social responsibility, diversity, and shariah law and how they relate to sustainability; the fifth week examined sustainable real estate and sustainability practices within the community and abroad.
For the second part of my project, I set up a plastic composting bin in the school business café, Sketch-It-Up, on November 13th. I had to spend several hours beforehand researching a proper way to introduce a composting bin for my school, and I initially thought it would involve vermicomposting or takashi composting. I later found that cold composting was the most convenient and advantageous way of composting over the coming months, so I gathered a plastic bin, newspaper (to serve as the liner), and several twigs and shredded leaves. Once the compost pile was set up, I made an announcement to several of the students that work in Sketch-It-Up about the bin and the upkeep required. I chose to have my composting bin there because the café sells several food items and works with many of the common compostable items like fruits and coffee grinds during the daily lunch periods. With this comes much accumulated waste, and it was the perfect combination for my compost bin. Once this was completed, I left to gather leaves and any other compostable foliage I could find in the general area. On my free days, I would stop by to stir the pile and I will continue to stir it periodically until it is finished. When that time comes, I will use it as fertilizer for the plants around my school campus, and give back to the natural environment.
After completing my project, I realized that there were multiple benefits to be found from it. At the end of the class, I passed out several evaluation forms and discussed with my peers what they thought of the class. I discovered that the students that attended found the class very relevant and informative, and it even caused them to become more mindful of their waste management in many aspects of their life outside school. While the class’s influence on the environmental conservation efforts may be more indirect and take longer than most others, the knowledge and expertise that I and my students have gained from learning about sustainability have allowed us to realize and plan to invest in companies that are being the most considerate about the environment and making an impact by providing for it on a massive scale. We have also learned about the cultural shifts within the investment world that will allow for us to become more involved and influential as time passes. As for the composting bin, it will be a slow process to compost without any catalysts or additives, but if effectively maintained, it could engage the interest of my high school administration and be expanded to composting waste from multiple sources across the school, effectively reducing unnecessary waste by at least 11,500 pounds of waste per day (if each person from the 2000+ student body leaves 5 pounds minimum per day), and 270,000 pounds within a year’s time. This is important because it could also reduce most of the waste currently building up within the Murfreesboro city dump, which is due to overflow within the next few years. All in all, the entire project is a small step in terms of scope compared to several others, but I believe it will lead to much greater developments within the coming years.
It is a truly exciting to think about the benefits that I have gained from the completion of my Apprentice Ecologist Project. I have learned about the finer details of sustainability, discovered more about why the natural environment must be provided for and preserved, and explored the various fields that it has influenced, such as real estate, finance, and even art. I have had the privilege of networking with several members of my community throughout the process and developing bonds with them that I hope to keep in the coming years. I have learned how to construct a class based on concepts that I enjoy finding out more about and PowerPoints that help them flow. I have also been able to find out how to construct and maintain a proper compost, which excited me because of the mass amounts of subjects and concepts that it relates to. This project granted me a fresh change of pace from my day-to-day stream of activities. All in all, this project helped me to connect to the world naturally and socially, and has exposed me to concepts and ideas that will help me as I head off to college. I have done some research into the sustainability practices of the college I have been accepted into, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and I found that they are more prevalent in the spring semester, but I hope to develop a few for the fall and summer semesters while I am there, and after I graduate, I will seek out any possible sustainability career opportunities.
· Date: December 31, 2017 · Views: 342 · File size: 14.7kb, 1097.3kb · : 3024 x 4032 ·
Hours Volunteered: 54
Volunteers: 8
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 16 & 36
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