Project: Wetlands Education Team (WET) & Salamander Education and Environmental Discovery Project (SEED)
Hometown: Munson Township, Ohio
I spearheaded a successful effort to designate the spotted salamander as the Ohio state amphibian ensuring that the salamander and the wetlands are taught in all Ohio public schools. I also created a group called the Wetlands Education Team (WET), which has built outdoor classrooms and working gardens to teach students about the plight of the wetlands in Ohio. Through our work building nesting platforms for the wetland-dwelling osprey, WET helped downgrade the osprey from a status of endangered to threatened.
Special training or skills:
None needed, but experience in public speaking has helped a great deal.
How to overcome obstacles:
In the execution of almost every idea, there seem to be obstacles. I think the best way to overcome them is to break them down into small pieces and try to tackle the problems one by one. Usually, there are alternatives that will allow you to continue. Just don’t give up!
Tip: Break obstacles down
into small pieces.
Helpful companies or agencies:
We have had so many people help us over the years! Almost every local company who we have asked has been able to help us in some way. I think it is advantageous to start with local business and adults you know when you ask for help. Once you get established, you can go to larger institutions. Then, you will have credibility because you will have a track record of success. Don’t forget to ask for technical expertise from your local and state governmental agencies. They can provide information about local conditions that may be very helpful.
Tip: Start locally and then expand.
How to reach out to other orgs:
If you can arrange to speak with people face-to-face, I think you can always be persuasive. You can answer their concerns on the spot. I use all modes of communication, email, calls, letters, and anything I can think of.
Internet: I spend a good deal of time searching the Internet for ideas and information. Spending time keeping up on developments in your field of interest is important.
Authors and experts: Try contacting authors or experts who you read about. Often they will be able to speak with you and help you work through your ideas.
Tip: Being educated is key.
How to jump on the movement:
We work to increase sustainable practices in our community. If you are interested in wetlands, we have helped the Ohio Environmental Council post information on their website that you will find interesting.
Keep in mind that everyone can take small actions each day that will have a substantial impact on use of resources: turn off lights and your computer when not in use, use energy efficient lighting, buy local produce, and recycle, recycle, recycle!
Tip: Small acts make
a big difference!