Cycle 2 Action Post #5: Metamorphosis

Hello everyone!

As the year is starting to come to an end, this will be my final post on the Butterfly Effect Website! Rejoining the Social Responsibility course for my final year of high school is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only did I have the chance to connect with so many students at my school and other schools, I was able to take my passions and interests and turn them into a project that seeked to inspire younger students and many others. This year I realized that Social Responsibility is not just a course, it’s a community. Although the year was cut short and did not end the way we hoped for, I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the memories I’ve made. 

For the past 2-3 weeks, after sending out my nature video lesson activity for Baker Drive Elementary students, their teachers have been sending me all their work. In the next week or so, I am still planning to compile a slideshow video of all their drawings and observations of plants the students discovered while at home and share it back with them. This will mark the end for part of my action project, however, my social media Instagram platform @projectonewithnature is still running strong, and my hope is to continue posting to this account and inspiring others to experience nature over the summer!

Now onto my Metamorphosis!

1. What challenges did you overcome throughout this action project? How did you go about overcoming these challenges?

The first challenge I faced quite early on in my action project was when I was trying to organize nature walks for students to participate in at Charles Best. At first, this was quite a challenge. Although I had advertised on social media, the school announcements, and visiting classes in the school, no students came to my first meeting. I took this as a huge set back since my whole action revolved around holding nature walks for students. To overcome this challenge, I decided to reach out to students individually who I saw had a strong interest in science. For example, I connected with a student I science peer tutored with. After telling her about my goal she was really interested in joining, because like me, she loved exploring nature. After she joined, more students started to become interested, like friends I had in my other science classes. Soon, I had a small group of 7-8 people who I connected with. Unfortunately, bad weather didn’t allow us to explore the forest much. I was planning to hold more nature walks in the spring once the weather was better, but the pandemic also restricted me from doing that as well. 

That leads me into the other huge challenge I faced for my second cycle of my action project. For my second cycle, I connected with a teacher from Baker Drive Elementary through the nature walks I did with her students in Mundy Park. I planned to visit Baker Drive after spring break and teach a lesson to Mrs. Lederer’s class on different animal habitats. Due to the pandemic, I wasn’t able to accomplish this goal for my action. However, even though I faced this small setback, I was still able to brainstorm with Ms. Stuart and Mrs. Lederer and come up with a way I could connect with the students virtually. As a result, I created an activity for Baker Drive students that would encourage them to get outside and explore nature while still maintaining social distancing. I created a video detailing all the instructions I asked students to follow. Here is the link to the video lesson I created if you’re interested in taking a look! 

The current pandemic has brought many challenges. However through it, it has made me stronger and a better problem solver. I did not let my inability to visit Baker Drive stop me from doing something to still connect with them through nature. 

2. How did this action change the way you think?

With any project, the mindset you start with usually isn’t the same mindset or perspective you have after your project is finished. For me, I started this project with a narrow look on how one experiences and views nature. My perspective changed after exploring Mundy Park with Mr. Cowie and going on nature walks with Baker Drive Elementary students in Mundy Park, because I started to see how nature can be viewed in many different ways. With Mr. Cowie, I was able to view nature for the sources of food, medicine and technology it provides. With the Baker Drive students, I learned how nature can also be viewed for its simplicity. 

During cycle 2 of my action project which took place primarily in quarantine and staying home, I soon saw how important nature is for so many of us in our daily lifestyles. I held a nature challenge on my Instagram page that encouraged people to send in their photos of their own experiences in nature. I also asked people to write a small description of why they like exploring nature. The challenge was a huge success, and I learned that for lots of people, nature relieves stress and takes people’s minds off other challenges they are facing in their life.

In this way, I started to see how nature can be viewed for an abundance of different things. It should be seen as something we want to preserve, learn more about, observe and appreciate.   

3. How did this investigation impact your future decisions?

My action project inspired me in numerous ways. As I head to UBC Okanagan for university in the fall, I hope to join the hiking club, or create my own if there isn’t one, so that I can continue to go on nature walks and experience nature with others while I am in university.

In addition, I’d also like to continue working with younger students and opening them up to the world of science. This has inspired me to volunteer at science camps and workshops for children. I hope to become involved with this through my university. This is a great opportunity to continue seeing nature through the perspective of others. 

This action project truly allowed me to connect with nature and my local environment. I realized how much I love being outside and observing different ecosystems. As a result, one of the biggest future decisions this action project created was that I now hope to study environmental science in university. I hope to continue exploring the Earth and learn more about how the planet works, and how it provides air, water, food, minerals, energy and multiple other resources we utilize.

4. What impact will this investigation have on others locally and/or globally?

My nature video truly impacted the younger students locally in my community. After sending out my nature activity lesson to Baker Drive students, I received tons of awesome feedback from Mrs. Lederer. She told me that lots of parents and their children loved the activity; it encouraged students to get outside and explore, and many parents said their children were really engaged with the video and the drawing exercise that was part of it. Especially since many people have been at home a lot lately due to the pandemic, I feel this activity was just what these students needed in order to get outside.

I impacted other people locally as well. Through my nature photo challenge I held on Instagram a couple weeks ago, I had several students from Charles Best and other people from the community reach out to me saying how much they loved this project, and how they loved seeing all the beautiful shots of nature people shared show up on their Instagram feed. In this way, I feel I encouraged and inspired many people in my local community to go outside and experience nature through this challenge. As a result, people were able to reflect and see the ways in which nature inspired them and how it affected them. This was really great to see, and it was incredible how many people responded and actually took part in this challenge throughout my community. 

This marks the end of my post! Thank you for reading! 

I’d like to thank everyone for the comments, suggestions and feedback they have left me throughout the year on my posts. In fact, some of the suggestions I received helped me improve and add to my action project in so many ways. 

I can’t wait to see everyone’s presentations of learning next week!

All the best,

Madison Ciulla 

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