My Growing Appreciation for the Planet Earth

People have always been a passion and interest of mine since I was a young girl. This passion stayed alive when I entered college but didn’t immediately help me figure out what I wanted to major in. I had many interests but I couldn’t quite pinpoint exactly what I wanted to do.  At the same time, I always knew that I would end up studying something regarding people. Psychology ended up being a natural fit for me. Despite that connection, I always was curious about other fields, including environmental science. I wish I had taken a class on that topic but I felt too intimidated by the subject area and decided to stick with what I felt comfortable with.
Flash forward to about a couple of years later at the start of my position as a Regional Coordinator. When I received the names of the organizations in my region, I froze for a moment. More than half of these organizations’ volunteer programs were environmentally related. Ahhh! My dormant fear of a highly unfamiliar issue area started to come back. Once again, I was feeling a bit intimidated. For the next few days I deliberated about this perceived challenge that was ahead of me. While I recognized that this general subject matter was not common knowledge for me, I reminded myself that I would be advising the coordinators on their volunteer programs and not the actual content regarding the environment. That definitely made me feel better. In addition to that, I made another realization: through this challenge I would finally be able to learn about a subject area I’ve always been intrigued by. I decided to take this opportunity to give myself a crash course on different environmental topics. Woo hoo!
So far, the challenge has been really fun! Most recently I’ve learned a great deal on various environmental topics through a great lecture series two VMCs put together. Jenny, from the Southeast Community Development Corporation, and Marisa, from the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, designed the “Think Green, Be Green” series on diverse topics that affect the environment and its residents in Baltimore city and county. Since January, various local restaurants and schools have hosted different speakers and community members to discuss topics such as the state of the Chesapeake Bay, urban stormwater, and neighborhood natural history.
As a novice to all of these topics, I really enjoyed attending these events because I felt like I was learning a great deal of information that would allow me to be more active as an environmental steward. For example, at the urban stormwater lecture I discovered the wonder of rain barrels and rain gardens. If I had some land of my own (I live in an apartment complex so it’s not really an option) I would love to build a rain garden! I haven’t been able to keep a plant alive in ages but maybe things can change… and maybe I can convince my parents to let me create one at their place?  Perhaps that potential adventure is for another blog entry….
Outside of the educational component, this lecture series has even more value to it: increased partnerships and community development. This project represents a very beneficial collaboration of two strong organizations in neighboring areas. I see this partnership as an example of how nonprofit organizations who share similar causes can effectively work together to share resources, more uniquely spread their missions, and provide more residents with tools and knowledge. 
If you’re interested in attending one of the “Think Green, Be Green” lectures there are still a couple more left in March! On March 8th the team will be presenting information on recycling. The series will conclude on March 22 with a panel discussion on sustainability.
Hope to see you there!

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