When I first started this internship with Ogallala Commons, I never expected to transform personally, professionally and spirituality. This experience has not only provided me the educational background for a future profession but it has peaked my interests in becoming a Texas Master Naturalist that I hope to use in future work within our community. In the beginning of July, is when I first started my internship at a location called Mariposa Eco Village which is in the stages of becoming a sustainable eco-friendly development located on the west side of Amarillo. The vegetable garden had already been built so I started to work on a project that Jon Revett envisioned, which is a 300 sq ft Xeriscape garden. This project consisted of me digging out the outline of the garden and filling in the area with aerated concrete forms. This required not only laying out the foundation but also cutting the individual pieces to create a geometric shape. Once this was completed, I used a tractor to move some of the surrounding soil that was located on the premises and included some of the animal bi product for compost. I learned a great deal of landscaping skills in this project since I had never moved that amount of soil before and gained the experience in dealing with local greenhouses on using the types of plants that require little water. Even though we purchased 25% of our plants, a huge majority of them were donated by Irwin Greenhouse which I have now developed a personal relationship due to the love of plants but also a professional relationship for future projects.
In addition to bringing forth Jon’s vision of this garden, I also learned a valuable skill on how to plaster and stucco 2 buildings located on the property. Animal relationships were also created, meet Derek the goat.
The second location was spent at Amarillo Botanical Gardens under the supervision of Horticulturalist Greg Lusk. I had the task of caging around 20 tomato plants and maintained the vegetable garden by weeding on a weekly basis and using organic methods in treating pest control in that area. I also spent time in helping clean out the greenhouse by disposing of dead or sick plants and gave instruction to the community service persons on everyday tasks. At one point, Greg and Travis gave me the opportunity to learn another skill, welding.
Also, a lot of my time spent at the botanical gardens included maintaining the grounds and helping with any activities that were scheduled, for example, Pumpkin Fest which raised funds for the garden. This opportunity showed me how to work events and interact more with the public which sparked ideas for new and exciting future fundraising events.
Adding to what is listed above, there were many events that I participated in with Ogallala Commons that sparked my interest in education. I attended 3 Youth Engagement fairs that challenged students in thinking about renewable energy and how it affects us not only now but for the future of this planet. I also attended 2 Playa Festivals in Nazareth TX teaching students the diversity of the plant and animal life located in these recharging zones. But the main influence for me was the River Festival located in Canadian TX where I gave examples of the local plant vegetation near rivers lakes and streams called the Riparian zone. From that moment, I realized that I would be a future educator in our area and will continue my studies by becoming a Texas Master Naturalist. This experience was challenging at times but with the right attitude and guidance, these opportunity’s that the OC provides makes a difference in not only the community but with individual lives that are willing to make positive steps in making a difference in this world.