The summer is over and it is time to go back to class. I spent a lot of my summer outside with my job at the Friesner Herbarium because it involved nature walks and prairie expeditions. It gave me an opportunity to observe the outdoors differently than I normally do. Every part of nature is special (except for that pesky Garlic Mustard and Honeysuckle!), and I was excited to hear that the Environmental Practicum class would be focusing its efforts on the Lights Out Indy campaign, which is concerned with the birds in Indianapolis that are striking windows. It may seem that these birds have little to do with us, but it is obvious to me that while I find birds to be strange little animals, I would rather see a living one than a dead one. This class may also help me with my fear of touching birds as well, because I have always been freaked out by feathers and cautious at claws. In the big picture, Lights Out Indy is not only helping birds, it is also about conserving energy because lights play a large part in why birds may strike windows. Since it is our job this semester to market these ideas and work with companies in Indianapolis, I believe I am going to gain a lot of real-world skills from this class.
What also got me excited about the new school year is all the blogging I am going to be doing. In addition to the Environmental Practicum blog, I am participating in a weekly blog for my AN 204 class, Apes On Film. It will become more apparent as more of us post, but the blogosphere is growing and I am learning a lot already about what it means to be a good blogger.
From my summer internship working with different projects at the center to new classes for my senior year I am beginning to learn new ideas and participate in different projects. Fortunately, for the Environmental Practicum class, I will be working with a familiar friend–birds of Indiana. This summer I was able to monitor blue bird boxes down at the intramural fields at Butler and recorded information including nest identity, parent activity, # of eggs and offspring, as well as having the opportunity to band a blue bird fledgling. It was an interesting experience to see the proliferation patterns of certain species. But how does my summer experience relate? What am I going to learn from this experience and how can I promote this to the general public as well the Butler community?
Lights out Indy is an initiative program that promotes sustainable practices amongst office buildings in the downtown area of Indianapolis. Under its website, it states that “The United States Fish and Wildlife Service estimates over 100 million or more birds die each year due to building collisions [because] of glass and excessive nighttime lighting”. This is a definite problem and will continue to increase in the next few months due to the migration period that will be in full swing. I’m excited to be working with this organization not only to decrease the amount of bird collision, but also learn techniques on how to clearly explain to the general public about scientific issues. Being my senior year I am going to have to understand how to take what I have learned and apply it to educate the public on standing issues within the biological realm. I believe that working with stake holders to collaborate better efforts on this certain issue will ultimately teach me how to work with others. Also I am very excited to be working with a couple of different programs such as the new ipads that we will be getting for 5 weeks! Who doesn’t want an ipad? With the technology that we have and the resources, we will be able to devise better options for business buildings to help lower collisions as well as save money!
Welcome to the Environmental Practicum blog! The Practicum is taught through the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler. Follow our urban achieving students on their adventure this fall!