Coming up with our class Taking Action Project, we all had similar roles. We helped pitch ideas for our project, sent emails to our key players, potted the plants, and planned the location, materials, and the garden club. Working together with my classmates was easy. Though we all had to give up a little bit of what we wanted in order to compromise on a solid plan, we ended up all agreeing on one idea. In particular, we worked really well through challenges and coming up with new ideas to get past those challenges.
Our class started with the idea of having our indoor garden in the cafeteria where there are several empty planters. This idea was quickly shut down once the cafeteria staff let us know that using those planters in the past had not turned out well. There were also many concerns by several of our key players such as what would happen to the plants at the end of the semester and how the plants would get enough sunlight. With all the concerns, we had to reorganize our idea. Within a few classes though, we had a solid plan that everyone including our key players agreed upon.
We came to the conclusion that the plants would be in our gathering space rather than in the cafeteria and next to the window with vitamin D lights to get enough sunlight. We also decided that students who participated in the club would be able to take plants home at the end of the semester. We were able to get through these challenges by working together on a plan that everyone still wanted while compromising with our key players and not giving up on our plan whenever something became an obstacle.
In retrospect, something I would have changed or done differently in the future with our project is getting the materials we needed further ahead of time. We didn't end up collecting our materials until the day that we set up the garden which ended up being more stressful than it could have been if we were prepared in advance. If we had the materials a week in advance, we could have seen if we had everything that we needed beforehand instead of the day it had to be done.
Having a class Taking Action Project gave me an idea of what it would be like to start my own personal Taking Action Project. It facilitated my understanding of the kind of barriers that can get in the way of accomplishing a specific goal and it will help me know how to get around those barriers in the future. It also gives me an idea of the extensiveness of planning and research that goes into a project like this. I learned that in order to get my key players to accept my idea, I must fully understand what it is I am trying to have changed. It is important to know why this project is important personally, how it affects the environment, what materials I will need, as well as be able to identify who I need to communicate with.
The advice I would give to future students at Conserve School for their projects would be to have a strong plan from the start that is agreed upon by everyone in the class but also make it flexible enough to make changes if not everything goes as planned. I would also suggest that though it is okay to divide and conquer, it is important that everyone in the class weighs in on all of the different parts of the project such as location and materials and then the students can each work on a section separately.
I was able to learn a lot from my class Taking Action Project and I feel truly privileged that the school gave us the opportunity to make decisions as well as encounter obstacles to better the school and our community. I feel like after having this experience I understand how to better my skills in being an environmental advocate and I have a clearer path to being effective at making a difference.