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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Asheville, North Carolina, USA

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Asheville, North Carolina, USA
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cailynmck



Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Arden
Posts: 1
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Because my time as a student has primarily been dedicated to learning about the natural world, I have been exposed to the blatant ignorance that many Americans have regarding environmental issues. As I have spent time working in national parks, state parks, and environmental education initiatives, I have witnessed many people whose actions bewildered me. I never expected to see anyone have such considerable apathy for their surroundings before I witnessed people unashamedly disrespect wildlife and land. These people did not have malicious intent, but they were oblivious to recognize the adverse effects their actions would have. To prevent further disturbance of the natural world, I recognized that people need to receive an extensive education on the environment starting at a young age. Most students are required to pass an environmental science course to graduate, but this does not mean that they understand the importance of conserving the Earth's natural qualities. I recognized that implementing programs that engage students with the world around them would reveal not only how disregard for park regulations affects particular ecosystems, but how daily choices affect the wellbeing of the entire Earth. By emphasizing the detrimental effects people have on the world, the ignorance surrounding environmental issues would be alleviated. I made this argument the centerpiece for a service project that I titled "Get Outside!," in which I created an outdoor workspace to actively engage students at my school with the natural world.
This space includes an outdoor classroom, ozone garden, salamander plots, and trails on excess land owned by the school. Although the cumbersome paperwork and pending approval at the beginning at the project was discouraging, I wanted to complete the project more than anything. My initiative drove me to find people and resources that would assist me as I familiarized myself with the time management and communications aspects of the project. I coordinated, led, and assisted volunteers to clear land for the main trail, outdoor classroom, and ozone garden. All of these had been bombarded by invasive plants, so we worked on clearing the land for quite some time before we began installing other aspects of the project. After the land had been cleared, I then constructed three counter-height tables and four movable benches for the classroom. These were put in place so that the space could be used by classes for conducting tests or just to simply be outside during a lecture. I also obtained plants from the National Parks Service that serve as bio-indicators for ground level ozone in the area. These plants can be used to inform students about the negative impacts of ground-level ozone and how we can determine its presence in the environment. Each part of the classroom allows students to grasp a deeper understanding of modern issues and what can be done to prevent further deterioration. Through hard work and perseverance, my project vision became a reality, and now the space is used by various classes to inspire students to connect with the natural world. By creating this space, I provided a kinesthetic way for students to learn about their impact on the environment. Students can now collect real environmental data such as water quality tests, bio-indicator studies, plant monitoring, and air quality. By using the space to educate students, they are taught how to make conscious decisions regarding the cars we drive, the waste we produce, the land we use, and much more. Students can see the great importance of these issues, and therefore will be inspired to acquire an environmentally-conscious lifestyle because of their exposure to a classroom such as this.
Date: December 18, 2018 Views: 939 File size: 17.3kb, 145.4kb : 750 x 416
Hours Volunteered: 550+
Volunteers: 16
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 14 to 20
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 2
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 45
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