Before this past year I wouldn’t have really been interested in trying to stop bird deaths by window strikes. Honestly, I had really just focused much of my time on getting to medical school and I would schedule my classes accordingly. That is until I took an ecology course with Dr. Ryan. It really opened my eyes to many of the issues of conservation, especially within urban ecology. Now, I still hope to get into med school but I have a new interest in conservation. I had always tried to conserve through little things like turning off lights or not letting the water run while brushing my teeth but not trying to evoke change in the community to help conservation.
After meetings with Don Groney and Travis Ryan, I started to fully understand the problems with bird deaths and how prolific they are. I was struck with it because it is a solely man made issue and one that can be helped by a few simple steps. It seems weird to me that building managers and businesses wouldn’t want to turn off their lights just at night to help out. It’s a simple, easy way to help both birds and conserve energy. I mean all that Lights Out Indy is asking is to turn off certain lights at night. It wouldn’t hurt business, if anything the promotion they could get would help. I am excited to really start and talk with businesses about the prospect of them joining Lights Out Indy.
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!