March 29, 2016

The National Wildlife Foundation helps to create new urban environments

The National Wildlife Federation, group that works toward protecting wildlife habitats and protect the environment, will be hosting a series of workshops on Saturday, April 2, along with the A.I. Root Company and the Medina County Soil & Water Conservation District.

The topics of the workshops include landscaping with native plants, attracting birds, bees and butterflies, and planning for wildlife habitats for urban and suburban settings.

The A.I. Root Company and the Medina County Soil & Water Conservation District are also training a team of community volunteers who will act as, according to an online press release, “Wildlife Habitat Ambassadors” to promote the need to create and restore wildlife habitats in backyards, schoolyards and other private or public suburban settings.

Linda Schneider, education coordinator for the Medina County Soil & Water Conservation, said the purpose of these workshops is for people to create their own backyard habitat.

Schneider will be a speaker along with four other sponsors from the National Wildlife Federation, A.I Root Company, Bee Culture Magazine, and OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.

In an email interview Niki Snider, a Cleveland State graduate and former treasurer and vice president of the Student Environmentalist Movement (SEM) group at Cleveland State University said, “I feel very positively about workshops and see them as a vital importance on hands-on learning. I feel that SEM would very much be willing to take a look at their availability and consider attending these workshops.”

“Without involvement and effort given from students to be engaged and active members in their community beyond graduation,” she added, “the hard work and dedication students put forward would all be for nothing.”

“The reality of the current environmental situation at hand is a very delicate one,” she continued, “and if we don’t take the situation and fight for it with everything we have, ultimately we are the ones that will suffer in the long run as realistically we will be the ones that suffer at the hands of a grim environmental situation.”

Of the various workshops offered, Snider said personally felt strongly about the one focusing on the decline in the butterfly and bee populations, and how dangerous it can be to our environment if we lose bees altogether.

“Without vital pollinators, many plants will not be able to thrive, thus hurting our vital plants,” Snider said.
While Snider is no longer a Cleveland State student, she still does her part to stay involved in environmental work. She is on the executive committee for the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club, as well as an international delegate for the Sierra Student Coalition.

In the past year she has also traveled to Minneapolis, Washington D.C., New York City, and most recently a six-week stay in Paris, working on national and international efforts for sustainability, environmental progress and activism.

Elisabeth Weems, a journalism major at Cleveland State and president of the Cleveland State Society of Professional Journalists, is also someone who is actively involved in environmental work. Like Snider, she too, believes these workshops will benefit the environment greatly.

“It’s important to host workshops and events that foster discussion about environmental conservation,” Weems said, in an email interview. “It’s no secret that humans have considerably degraded and exploited the Earth, and we must shift our perception of nature from being a tool to being a living entity with which we must coexist.”

“Suburbs and metropolitan areas are so disconnected with the natural elements that we must constantly remind ourselves that taking care of the Earth is a top priority,” she added. “We are living, breathing byproducts of our environment. There exists a huge misconception that humans are superior to, and separate from, the natural elements.”

“We have a responsibility to sustain the Earth’s vitality if we plan to continue to inhabit this planet. There is no Planet B,” Weems continued.

“We are currently living in an era in which we do not know where our food and products come from, and so it is imperative for us to learn how to grow our own food in the limited space that we have.”

Of the many different workshops being held, Weems said she feels that planning for wildlife habitat in urban and suburban settings workshop would have the greatest impact on people.

“Roadkill is a prime example of our diminishing ability to coexist with nature,” Weems said. “And so teaching the community how to respect other living and nonliving entities will create more of a harmonious sharing of spaces.”

The workshop will begin Saturday in the Bee Culture Conference Room on the A.I. Root Campus, 623 W. Liberty in Medina, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with check-in starting at 9:30 a.m.

It costs $20 to register, and the cost will cover the certification program, lunch, garden tours with experts, workshop materials, door prizes and wild flower seeds.



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