RealInternships: Daniela Diaz

The first three weeks of working for the NC Green Schools Project have gone by pretty quickly.  I’ve probably spent about half of my time doing administrative type work, including working on copyediting, layout and design for the online newsletters for the NC Green Schools Project and it’s new parent organization, the Blue Ridge Sustainability Initiative.  The newsletter for the NC Green Schools Project is new, so I’ve also been finding out what the best practices are for education newsletters and settling up templates for the first several issues that will begin issue when the school year starts in August.

daniela Another administrative project that I’ve worked on has been to edit the entirety of the NC Green Schools website. This sort of overhaul style of editing can be tedious, but it ends up making the website a more useful resource once everything is updated and specific information is easier to find.

I’ve been making databases of the contact information of teachers, administrators and staff that might be interested in working with NC Green Schools this fall, trying to distribute information and individual school requirements before the academic year begins so that teachers can make plans for the prospective involvement more effectively. Right now, I’m trying to set up a couple meetings with elementary and high school teachers that have previously expressed an interest in participating in the program with their classrooms.  I thought that this might be difficult to do since it is summer vacation for teachers as well as students, but I have been luckily surprised so far.

I’ve also had the opportunity to do some research relating to sustainability education.  Namely, this consists of reading and comparing “green” education lesson plans that schools outside of North Carolina have created, as well as lesson plans created by major organizations like the government’s Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Green Buildings Center as well as independent entities like the Equal Exchange fair trade coffee organization and Wild Ones, which is a native plant education nonprofit. There are hundreds of “green” education lesson plans out there, but I’m working on compiling a database of all of the most viable lesson plans that I’ve found along with the existing lesson plans that have been created for NC Green Schools so that they can be made into an online resource for teachers to use when searching for lessons by grade level and environmental education topic.  After the lesson plan resource is completed, hopefully there will be some feedback from educators about which were the most preferred. A similar project that I’ve begun has been to research grant making foundations and individuals that are interested in environmental and educational programs.  Again, there seem to be a tremendous amount of grants when beginning to research, but finding programs that are tailored to the specific nature of the NC Green Schools Project narrows it down considerably. I like that non-profit work in this instance seems to have projects that have completion dates so that the organization moves forward, while the education component makes it interesting and engaging.

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