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Displaying items by tag: Impact
Thursday, 03 July 2014 00:00

From Visitor to Ambassador

One of the best things about being an organization focused on mentoring is that we get to experience both sides of mentoring, and we get to watch “mentees” become “mentors.” I’ve had three great experiences recently watching the transition from “visitor” to “ambassador” and I thought I’d share them:

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00

See for Yourself - Interns

The Urban Ecology Center’s Summer Internship progran is a dynamic employment opportunity for adults. It’s a win-win; The Center gains valuable help during our busiest months and Interns get a summer they’ll never forget!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 00:00

Our Stories

“Ken, in addition to our gift for your early childhood program, we are also interested in giving you a little extra to write a book. We think that the story of the Urban Ecology Center is an inspirational one that needs to be told.”

Wow! How cool is that? This remarkable, unsolicited gift came last year from a foundation that had just started their support. However, it has not been until very recently that we have actually figured out how to carve out the necessary time to put a book together. I mean, really, how do you even start?

Well, in typical Urban Ecology Center fashion we’d like to start with you!

Everyone, no matter their age, can teach, help and learn at the Urban Ecology Center! See for yourself how older adults through teens are mentoring Summer Campers and students who will in turn be the environmental leaders of tomorrow.

Research shows two things make a person environmentally aware – constant contact with nature early in life and a mentor who demonstrates positive behavior toward the environment. With this research in mind, we train interns to be mentors to high schoolers, who in turn become mentors to our Summer Campers.

Come in today to see how your whole family can learn, work and grow at our Center. 

I awoke alone just before sunrise, happy for the warmth of my sleeping bag. The eastern horizon was aglow where ocean met sky. Purple, peach and pink all mixed up into one intense remarkable color. I rolled over and rested my chin in my hands to take in the beauty before my eyes. There was hardly a breath of wind on the shore of this small, isolated cove on Isla Espiritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez.

My mind was awake, open and clear.

I heard a soft sound ... not so much an interruption, but an intrinsic part of the moment.

Fifteen years ago a movie cost you on average $4.50 (now $8.20), a gallon of gas cost $1.06 (now $3.75), a dozen eggs went for $1.09 (now $2.50) and an Urban Ecology Center membership cost $25 (still $25). What? The crazy thing is that while our membership rates remained the same for 15 years, our offerings increased by at least a factor of ten if not a hundred! 15 years ago we had only one center — a single, double-wide trailer in the then run-down Riverside Park. Our lending program consisted of just a few canoes and our program offerings, while always of the highest quality, represented just a fraction of the number of what we can offer now.

I came to the Center two and a half years ago as a summer camp intern. As my role has changed from environmental educator to volunteer coordinator and community health evaluation coordinator, I have found myself reflecting on a question that has repeatedly come up in the various roles I’ve held: What is environmentalism?

It didn’t take long in my role as an educator to notice that how I engaged with nature wasn’t universal. Activities I loved as a child, like catching bugs or sitting quietly in the woods or playing in snow, while appreciated by some, could be terrifying, disgusting or down right boring to some of my students.

Friday, 27 December 2013 12:22

New Year, New Land

I knew the call would come eventually, I was just hoping it would take a little longer to happen. When it did come, however, I was incredibly thankful that it left an opening and was not final.

“Ken, we’ve decided that we need to sell the property and have some interested buyers who have offered some very attractive numbers to us,” she said, “however, we’d love it if there was a way for the Center to have it. We cannot give it away but we might be able to give you time. How long do you think you would need to make a run for it?”

Thursday, 26 December 2013 16:48

A Sense of Tribe

Of all of the things the Native Americans have contributed to society, I think one of the most important is the tribe. Based on kinship, orally communicated customs and rituals and commonly shared values and beliefs, people within the tribes are attuned to others in the group and often work toward shared goals (e.g. food, shelter, healthcare, raising children, etc). They are also each others’ support network. It’s a social construct that has worked for thousands of years.

Monday, 23 December 2013 16:08

Washington Park: Ready to Blossom!

Can you believe it’s been only seven years since we hired our first staff member to start up our Washington Park branch? The growth there has been amazing! With the start of a new year, we, like many of you, are reflecting on the past and thinking about our plans for the year ahead. These two perspectives, hindsight and anticipation, seemed like the best way to give an update on our Washington Park branch! Wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. It all started with...

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