Earth Day – eClub at ARCC

eClub

Now that you have a small background on how I came to be apart of the Environmental Club at Anoka Ramsey Community College Cambridge Campus, I would now like to tell you a little more about the club itself.

*No names of past and present members will be currently used until I have permission*

Each year the club hosts two major events: the back to school dance held in October and the Earth Friendly Fair (aka EFF) in April around Earth Day.  Both events are planned and hosted by the club members who are students.  They take care of everything from budgeting to clean up.  The dance is for students of ARCC whereas EFF is open to the public/community.

I would like to talk a little more about EFF because it is Earth Day and it’s a unique event.

The Earth Friendly Fair is designed to bring community members together and educate individuals about environmentally friendly practices, products and services.  Local vendors and presenters take part in this event with the opportunity to speak with individuals about their work and mission.  Each year there is a different theme that is tied into an environmental issue/topic.  One of our major goals for EFF is to keep it family oriented with MANY kids activities including our annual egg hunt and reading corner.  We also provide entertainment such as a play and music.  Most recently for the past two years we have had a Thrift Shop Fashion Show.  This has been a fun aspect added to the event.  For EFF we also have door prizes and raffle tickets individuals can earn by attending the presenters and participating in events.  We have been very lucky to have a donated pair of Steger Mukluks as our grand prize for the past few years.

The club typically has about 10 members every year but also has past members who volunteer and take part in these two major events.  Just like any other campus club we have a Faculty Adviser, Student President, VP, Secretary and Treasurer.  These are the formal titles for the club.  For our informal titles we have added Technology Adviser and Public Relations Adviser due to the nature of our public events.

Since 2010, I have helped direct the marketing and public relations section of the club for their events.  This is something I continue to do even though I am not a student on campus anymore.  I enjoy every minute of it and grow in my knowledge of how to reach out to others for this important event.

Besides working on our two big events, we also go up to the Steger Wilderness Center to volunteer.  Due to our faculty adviser taking his classes up there each semester, the club members also attend the service learning weekends to help guide and direct the work.  Many of the eClub members started out by taking one of the courses and going to the Center and wanted to return. Some of the members even go on to become summer interns at the center.  It is a great learning opportunity for students and club members alike.  It is something I personally look forward to each semester and will for years to come.

I have come super close with these members.  They are like a second family to me.  We have been able to work as a team to reach out to others about environmental issues.  We have learned so much about each other, ourselves and what we can do to help future generations.

It may seem odd to write about about Earth Day as a personal experience but I think that each of us needs to take a look as to what Earth Day means.  What does it mean to you individually, your family, community and globally?  Earth Day is a reminder to me that our work – my work – is not done.  Changes in how we treat our planet need to be done.  I know my story isn’t touching, serious or funny but it’s my story.  This club is important to me and to our community.  I hope it has inspired you in some way.

Even if you aren’t in Minnesota check out our Facebook page and follow us!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Environmental-Club-at-ARCC/181623038576949

Once again – thanks for reading!

*Manda

Earth Day – My Story Part 1

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

This is a very big topic for me and I am super excited to be blogging about it!  A good question is – where to begin?  The beginning is always good I guess…

I graduated from High School back in 2009 and started my first year of college at a local school that fall (Anoka Ramsey Community College Cambridge Campus).  I was super nervous and yet excited to be trying something new.

One of my courses that first year was Environmental Ethics.  The first day of class, I was shocked and very uneasy about how hard the course was going to be.  The professor even stated that the reading material would not be light reading and had a strict grading system.  Being the visual learner that I am and someone who is not good with theory, the course was definitely a challenge.  My first few reading quiz’s were pretty bad but I figured out how to study the reading material better.  Once I thought things were going well, one of my papers was ripped apart.  Even to this day I am surprised I was brave enough to make an appointment to speak with my professor about the paper.  I put a lot of work into it but the paper wasn’t my greatest work.

*Note – I am still not a professional writer and not a very good one at that.  But hey, this isn’t school.  This is for fun!*

My professor was kind enough to help educate me on my writing mistakes and give me a chance to rewrite the section I did the worst in.  I took this as a great learning opportunity.  After speaking with the professor, we spoke for a while getting to know each other. Once I left his office I was much more confident and kind of liked the guy as a person not just as a professor.

With things going better in the course I really began to like the class, despite the difficulty and grew to enjoy the professors personality.  Towards the final weeks of the class we learned about Global Warming / Climate Change, as well as a major (local) advocate to educate others about it.

For an assignment we had to write a research paper on Will Steger before we completed a service learning project over a 3 day weekend up near Ely, Minnesota.  After doing some research about him I was talking to my mother about the weekend I would be gone (I lived at home the first year of college).  When I mentioned Steger – she instantly became excited.  Confused, I listened to her say things like – “He’s famous” and “I remember learning about him my senior year in High School and watching his progress on the news”.  For my mom, she said she was jealous but excited that I would get to meet him.

I turned in my paper with pride and looked forward to the weekend of service learning (providing manual labor up on the property).  Being born and raised in Minnesota, heading into the deep woods was normal and fun for me.  The layout of the area we were at was beautiful, quite, peaceful and one of a kind.  I knew right away that it was something special.  Even though the work was hard, I rather enjoyed it as well as getting to know my peers and just being outside.  Meeting Will, asking him questions, hearing his stories and receiving a tour of the Center (aka The Castle) was eye-opening.

The following week of class after being at the center I felt a shift in myself.  I had become super curious about the topic of global warming / climate change, what I could do to educate myself and others.  So, when our professor mentioned starting up a college club that focused on the environment.  I was excited and interested but had decided to transfer to a college in the Twin Cities and would not be on ARCC campus anymore.  I offered any help with the getting the group started but fell out of the loop over the summer months before my transfer.

And once my grades came in for the semester I thought for sure that I would receive a ‘C’ but walked away with an “A”.  I was so excited and proud of myself for my hard work and honesty with my professor.

Fast forward to spring semester of 2010.  After a fall semester at a large 4 year university I went back to ARCC.  I made sure that one of the courses I needed was taught by my former Environmental Ethics professor.  The first day of class he went through getting to know everyone’s names and remembered me from his class the previous year – which was cool.  After that first day of class I asked him about the environmental club and if it ever took off.  When he said that it did I was super excited.  He gave me the day, time and where the first meeting would be and I made sure to show up.

Little did I know – how much this group would change me for the better.

If you would like more information about Steger Wilderness Center and The Will Steger Foundation please click the links below:

http://www.willstegerfoundation.org/

http://stegerwildernesscenter.org/

Also, feel free to check out his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/willsteger?fref=ts

*Professors name has not been provided due to awaiting approval*

Thanks for reading!

*Manda

#WorldDoulaWeek

#WorldDoulaWeek

In honor of World Doula Week (March 22nd-28th) I am going to be writing a 5 part Miniseries about Midwifery/Doulas and the natural home/center birthing.

This is a very important topic to me and I encourage everyone to talk about this topic openly.  I will make it easy and start it for us…

Almost a year ago I started looking into conception, pregnancy and birthing.  As I have stated before Mike and I have been together for almost 5 years and the topic of children has come up multiple times.  Due to the nut that I am, I have been doing a lot of online reading and research.   Not having children of my own (yet) I wanted to know EVERYTHING that a woman should and needs to know prior to conception.

Let me tell you now… there is A LOT of information that is thrown out there.  It was somewhat frustrating because at first I didn’t feel like I was getting all the right information.  I spoke with friends and family about their conception, pregnancy and birthing experiences – AND STILL – it didn’t feel right.

One night on my computer I found the documentary The Business of Being Born by Director Abby Epstein and Executive Producer AND famous actress, Ricki Lake.  I think I have watched this documentary about 3 times this past year.  There is even a second film by Abby and Ricki titled More Business of Being Born!  I cannot wait to watch it.  I highly recommend the documentary series for anyone and everyone wanting to learn about the business of birth.  It is eye-opening.

Website: http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/

After watching the documentary The Business of Being Born I was completely fascinated by natural, home and center births.  I have known only for a few short years about home births but was never truly informed until this past year.

I went online to search for birth centers, midwives and doulas around me to get some questions answered.  I stumbled across a grass-roots group right here in Minnesota and joined as a member, as well as their Facebook page.  I have been welcomed with open arms and every question I have asked has been answered by a number of individuals.  I have even had the pleasure of attending an information meeting last month and finally meeting some of these individuals face to face!

The board and group members are absolutely amazing!  They are informed, continuing to grow in knowledge and promoting the Midwifery model of care, as well as, woman’s rights when it comes to birth.  They are a community of support with so much to share with others.  I have received advice on what books to read, how to talk to Mike about what I want with our future birthing experience and where to find Doulas/Midwives close to where I live.

Here is some quick information about MFM:

Minnesota Families for Midwifery is described on their Facebook page as “…a grass-roots citizens’ organization promoting midwife-attended births at home, in birth centers, and in hospitals throughout Minnesota.”

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mfmidwifery/info?tab=page_info

Email: info@mfmidwifery.org

Website: http://mfmidwifery.org/

But I know that it is so much more!  I look forward to contributing as a member to this organization in any way possible.  I feel so empowered by these women and families (yes some of the men are all in on it too)!  It has driven me to continue learning about natural home/center birthing.

For so many women my age, I feel that we aren’t informed properly about OUR choices.  I was born in a hospital, my mom was and my grandmother was – it is seen as the “Norm”.  Too many women don’t know or understand that the Hospital isn’t the “NORM” – it’s a money-maker.  I know that when I have my birthing experience I don’t want to be considered a “money maker” – I want to be treated like the strong and powerful woman that I am.  I am currently working on becoming healthier for many reasons – and one of them is for conception.  I want to be as healthy as possible to be considered low risk for a natural home/center birth.  This is a very important goal for me.  I will keep you updated on my progress and some of the options I am looking into.

Stay tuned for more information about natural home/center births and the Midwifery Model of Care this week!

Thank you all for reading!

And until next time – Take care!

*Amanda ❤