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!
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