“The Beauty of Ohio in your Hands”
“Nature” is complex and multifaceted. It can be approached as a scientist, a humanist, and an artist. However, those alone cannot capture its complexity and importance. Nature could be the plant in your window, an untouched forest, a wildlife preserve, a tree in your backyard, and so much more. not only do we need nature to survive, but humans have the ability to help nature prosper with just a little bit of help. We use nature to make our crops, help endangered plants and wildlife, make our building materials, manufacture the things we use in everyday life, and breathe the air that plants produce. Likewise, the species we protect are able to survive because of us, the seeds we bury are able to create beautiful plants, and many of the things we produce will decompose and become one with nature over time.
But what does it mean to experience nature? To appreciate it? Throughout history, humans have had both positive and negative impacts on the world around us. But no matter what we do, nature is something we rely on. So how do we promote environmental and sustainability practices? Something I have learned during my time here at OWU is that experience is the best way to gain appreciation. To be able to understand and care about something, you have to get to know it. However, with the Covid-19 Pandemic, it has become harder and harder for people to go outside and enjoy nature.
The objective of this project was to find a creative and integrative way to encourage people to think about care about environmental issues without having to leave OWU’s campus. The outcome was a tangible book that was distributed to various faculty, staff, students, and community members. I traveled from Lake Erie to Hocking Hills to take pictures of the nature that is available right here in Ohio. Each photo was paired with an original poem designed to not only showcase nature but bring positivity to the reader. The book encourages readers to share the book with others and share the positivity it brings.
I am a 2021 graduate from OWU with a double major in Zoology and Environmental Science with minors in English and Communications. I grew up camping and being outdoors giving me a strong appreciation for nature. Taking classes from 2D design to developmental biology, I am very happy I found a way to incorporate the culmination of knowledge I've gained here at OWU.
I greatly enjoyed my time working on this project. It is hard when you’re busy with classwork to go outside and hike. I would imagine it’s the same for faculty & staff here on campus. But when you are able to go out and experience nature it is an amazing feeling. It’s important to remind yourself how beautiful the natural world around us is. We affect it and it affects us.
What I Learned
Something important I learned is just how important we are to nature as it is to us. We need plants to breathe. Likewise, protected areas would not be nearly as pristine or diverse without human interaction. Many parks I visited had programs in place to help stop invasive species and spread diversity in plant and animal species. This is key for the survival of these different species and for conservation work in general. We make a big impact on the environment around us, and we need to stay aware of how exactly we are affecting it-- be it positive or negative.
This project gave me important insights on how we preserve the environment and gave me a wonderful chance to spread the natural beauty of the state of Ohio with those who are not able to get out and experience it firsthand. This project’s goal was to not only spread positivity throughout the community but also show that we have a lot of beautiful scenery that is worth protecting and preserving. Hopefully, those who read my book will be more likely to push for environmental programs, sustainability practices, and be more invested in exploring the natural areas around them.
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