Being in this class has given me a much better idea of how important it is to keep the big picture in mind when working on a project of this nature. It’s easy to get bogged down wanting to see immediate results for one’s hard work, but not all projects work like that—especially in the field of conservation. As a student, I feel that I have been conditioned, to an extent, to think short-term. When is my next test? What grade did I receive on my paper? This classroom experience has really changed that perception. It is safe to say our focus has somewhat shifted from where it originally was, but I do not view this as a negative. Seldom do things of this nature go one hundred percent according to plan. More important than the actual modifications to the plan is how the team responds to these changes. If we can maintain a high level of enthusiasm as a class for the remainder of this project, I am sure that we still have a very in-depth, helpful report for Don Gorney and Lights Out Indy. Years from now, it really will be great to see how far the program has come and to know that we helped it along the way.
I’m beginning to understand how tough it is to dedicate one’s life to conservation. We don’t live in an environmentally-friendly world; conservation will always take a back seat to other issues. This is amplified when considering LOI; making people care about climate change is difficult enough! How on earth do we make them care about birds? As I understand the daunting task of ecological conservation in today’s world, I also understand that if people in the past had let this obstacle stop them, there would be no conservation-minded organizations, and the environment would be in an even sorrier state than it is now! That’s what I need to keep in mind—every little bit counts, no matter how small. If we only get three more businesses to participate in LOI, that’s three more buildings downtown that are less likely to be hit by birds. Who knows how many lives would be saved over the years? That’s another thing to keep in mind—the big picture. Especially on a project like this, the immediate results won’t mean too much, but years from now, the changes we bring about can and will be hugely obvious.
I hope to be actively involved in conservation my entire life, whether through my career or by hobby. The lessons I am learning in this class will go a long way in helping me gain patience and understanding that, in this case, every business we convince to participate is a victory. Every light switched off is a step in the right direction. The problem may seem insurmountable when considering the number of buildings downtown and the potential challenges that await us, but these barriers will only make the ultimate reward sweeter. I can’t wait to approach the first downtown business with our ideas!