Discounted DVDs in the GreenTreks Store!

DVDs now are $19.99!

Excellent news/excellent savings! We have discounted the DVDs in our GreenTreks store. Thanks to help from our supporters, we are now able to offer the DVDs of the GreenTreks Network catalog for the affordable price of $19.99 plus s&h (original price: $29.99). Let us know what you think!

Visit the GreenTreks Network Online Store.

On the Farm with Meghan

As some of you know, I spent the summer interning on an organic farm located in Central Pennsylvania within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Learning about organic agriculture was a wonderful experience! I wanted to share some photos of my farming internship with you.

Now that I’m back in the GreenTreks office, I’d love to catch up with all of our partners and supporters. Send me a line and fill me in on your summer!

To learn more about the organic farm I interned on, visit the Village Acres Farm website.

Piglets (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Farm (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Tomatoes (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Blueberry Field (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)

Get on Your Bike and Do Some Good!

GT Staffers Meghan and Anita on their bike commutes

We’ve made it through the sweltering heat of summer (finally!) and now we’ve hit beautiful, warm-but-perfectly-cooler weather. I know us staffers here at GreenTreks are certainly welcoming it. Bike-commuting is much more enjoyable when you don’t arrive as a puddle of sweat!

Schuylkill River Trail Bike TourComing up at the end of September, are a number of opportunities to enjoy a bicycle ride and do some good at the same time. First up on Saturday, September 22, 2012, is the Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour: Rails and River Towns Ride. Bike along the Schuylkill River Trail, learn about the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad during a presentation by Bob Thomas, and, best of all, support the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. This is the first ride of this new bike tour series, and it sounds excellent for all levels of riders (choose from a 18-mile ride & walking tour, a 20-mile ride, or a 9-mile ride and guided tour).  Learn more about the bike tour and register here.

PASA's Bike Fresh Bike LocalThe next day, on Sunday, September 23, 2012, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is hosting Bike Fresh, Bike Local in Downingtown, PA. Proceeds from this ride benefit PASA’s work for sustainable, family farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. Whether you choose the 25-, 50-, or 75-mile ride, you’ll get to enjoy a lunch of local foods and enjoy a Victory Brewing Company craft beer. Plus, I’ll be volunteering at the break station for the 75-mile riders, so stop by and say hi! Learn more and register here.

PA Master Naturalist Guest Blog: Chester Environmental Partnership Video and Capstone Project

In another installment of PA Master Naturalist Guest Blogs, John McGlaughlin shares his documentary of the Chester Environmental Partnership and discusses his Master Naturalist Capstone Project.

My, oh my, how the time flies!  After a month and a half of non-stop environmental action, the learning component of the PA Master Naturalist program is drawing to a close.  While it will be sad to bid adieu to our exciting weekly learning sessions, I am looking forward to putting some of my newly minted knowledge to good use…the real fun is about to begin!

After our classroom ‘graduation’, my classmates and I will be designated as official Master Naturalist Trainees.  In order to shed the Trainee status and become a real-deal Master Naturalist, each of us will have to complete 30 service hours and 8 hours of advanced training over the next year. This is the point in the initiation process where the pledge must prove his worth… kind of like in a cheesy martial arts movie where the young samurai must steal the emperor’s diamond to be fully accepted into the clandestine warrior guild.

Subsequently, the last assignment for our final class is to develop an outline for a potential service project.  This outline is like the blueprints of a real project that could be implemented once us ‘Trainees’ get out into the field.  The assignment, entitled the ‘Capstone Project’, will be presented before a panel of environmental experts and current Master Naturalists.  After the presentation the panel decides whether to feed you to the lion by giving you a thumb up or a thumb down (just joshing). In reality, the panel and our peers will then offer criticism about the merit and feasibility of the prospective service project to the presenter.   And then we will all have a Naturalist party with cupcakes and soda (not joshing).

I’ve already spoken to a few of my peers about their capstone projects and heard some pretty cool ideas so far, including:

  • Creating a rain garden on the grounds of a local library
  • Leading an urban birding walk through an 19th century cemetery
  • Coordinating volunteer efforts to clear invasive plants from a local reservoir

The inspiration for my capstone project actually stemmed from thinking about how cool my classmates ideas were.  Here was the thought process…

  • hmm, these service projects are cool
  • People should know about these service projects
  • hmm, I got a camera and I (kind of) know how to use it
  • Voila!  I’ll make videos about these service projects and show them to people!

After revising and expanded my project a bit, I came up with the following outline:

  • Create 5-minute videos that focus on an environmental issue and a nonprofit organization addressing the issue.
  • Partner with an independent media outlet (such as GreenTreks) to broadcast the video to a wide audience
  • Apply this template to other environmental organizations and repeat

What’s more, I actually made a video last spring about a nonprofit organization in Chester that can serve as a template for my capstone project.   The video features an environmental justice nonprofit named ‘The Chester Environmental Partnership’ and was made in effort to promote the organization’s mission and accomplishments.  Below is a link to the video if you would like to get a better understanding of what I’m going for.  For now I’m getting all jazzed up for my upcoming presentation and am praying I don’t get fed to the lion.   I’ll let you know how it went next time…hopefully!  Until then, adios!