Imagine yourself turning what you experienced here today into something that helps further Mission: Belgrade. What does that something look like?
I imagine middle school students in all parts of the Belgrade watershed exploring the lake environments and not finding invasive aquatic plants. I also imagine many, many of them coming to the Resource Center in Belgrade Lakes and learning all about the upland and aquatic invasives present and not present in our immediate environs. I imagine these same kids going home and teaching their parents what to look for on land and in the water. And in several years, I imagine the whole community working together to identify new infestations and prevent their spread.
I can imagine turning what I experienced today into a field trip for local students. If I were a science teacher, I would love to bring my class here so they could meet everyone and experience this property. I loved the community building activities we did at the beginning of the workshop as well as identifying norms for the day. I think that if students were able to publish their own work to the Vital Signs websites it would be both informative and empowering.
This would have the schools in the area and the after school programs all involved. The invasive species all identified in the area. This then would help us to start the process of getting the invasive out of the area.
I imagine that the skills I learned today will stay with me as I pursue a career a Environmental Science. It is important to know how to properly search for and identify invasive species.
Organizing Citizen Scientist Outings through the BRCA (Belgrade Region Conservation Alliance) Education program to document presence or lack of presence of various species, desired and less desired.
Organizing student surveys on North Pond with COLA with students from Skowhegan Area Middle School.
I imagine that the skills I learned today will stay with me as I pursue a career a Environmental Science. It is important to be about to properly search for and identify invasive species.
I imagine middle school after-school programs having Vital Signs "kits" and weekly assignments. Volunteers from Colby College join the students and their teachers at least one day a week and help with the assignments. When weather is good, we arrange transportation on or around different habitats in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed. Students spend one afternoon preparing for the assignment (e.g., planning what to take, what to do, what to look for), another afternoon collecting data, and two more afternoons entering and checking data. One optional afternoon program may be to explore a data set for a species or on a data set.
I'm going to continue being a citizen scientist and encourage others to become interested in the plants and animals around them. I hope to go into classrooms and help teach students how to make these obseravations. I think it's imortant for people to be connected to their environment and understand how things are related and how their actions have an effect on the ecosystem. Vital signs is a fun way to do that within a community!
I hope that I can apply what I learned here today to teaching others, especially young people, and helping them learn how to use such knowledge to increase their understanding of nature, invasive species, and the importance of keeping them in check. The "something" will most likely be in the form of future sessions in which we work with other individuals for the protection of our environments from invasive species.
I imagine all the kids who go through vital signs training searching for invasive species while out fishing in the Belgrades, vastly multiplying the number of "eyes on the water." And then getting their parents involved. And then their parents sending in big checks to support our invasive plant program.
I would like to create a theatre piece for or with kids that would explore the value of keeping waters fresh and usable. I'd also like to engage kids in being able to investigate invasive species.
I would love to be able to work with some local schools in the watershed to show them the vital signs program and to work with those schools to map the Belgrade Lakes Village center locating any possible invasive species which live locally.
I imagine myself taking middle school kids out into the live and thriving environment that is the Belgrade Lakes. I want to help them connect with nature while at the same time prevent more invasive species from spreading into the ponds.