Public Lands Stewards: The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts

by | Lands Stewards

 

With AmeriCorps graduation approaching, I’ve been wrapping up my work with WREN and filling out end of term paperwork. One of the questions on my Member Exit Survey asked if I felt I had an impact on anyone in my community during my position. I answered yes, knowing the nature of my job has brought me into contact with plenty of people. After filling out the survey I decided to look into what my impact really has been, and even I was surprised by the numbers. Over the course of six months, I have worked with 2,100 students in the Eugene area and nearly 500 adults. These numbers come from a wide array of educational scenarios, in which I:

–       tabled and led activities at big community events

–       guided students around the West Eugene Wetlands for field trips

–       taught and worked alongside teenage Youth Corps workers

–       brought programs to classrooms, libraries, community centers, and assisted living facilities

–       gave a presentation at the Oregon Science Teachers Association conference*

Though my interaction with each of these individuals may have been brief, I believe the sum of these interactions amounts to something significant. Because of these field trips, presentations, and even quick crafts at busy events, I have helped nearly 2,600 people connect to nature in some way. In my AmeriCorps motivational statement, part of my application for this position, I described what moves me to pursue a career in environmental education: “I would like to join AmeriCorps to improve lives; I want to make the world a better place for all living things, and I want to dedicate more of my time and energy to community service. I am passionate about connecting people to nature and promoting environmental conservation. There is so much to learn from spending time outdoors, and I believe everyone should have access to the psychological and physical benefits of healthy natural spaces.” Through this position, I have been able to directly address elements of this goal by working with learners of all ages to teach about my local public lands and their value to people and wildlife alike.

I want to thank Mt. Adams Institute and Willamette Resources & Educational Network for providing such a positive experience for me during this term. It has been a joy and an inspiration to be around so many people with not only a love for the outdoors, but also the drive to conserve natural spaces and make them an even greater and more accessible asset to our communities. These shared values help shape the true strength of this program; across a range of jobs and work settings, we are all putting our skills and experience to use towards a common objective.

*To learn more about this, visit:  http://wewwild.blogspot.com/2019/10/osta-conference-splash.html