a day well spent
Washington Irving Middle School
Recently Gabby Queenan, Jonas Procton, Ellen Biegert, Steve Stanish and others participated in a Green Infrastructure training exercise with students from X-Cel Education, Conservation Corps. Gabby’s professional area of expertise as an environmental planner is water focused, mainly evaluating GI opportunities, and collaborating with community leaders to explore options for GI projects, as well as outreach and community engagement.
GQ: Volunteer opportunities like this one, put our work in a different context. It is definitely an added bonus to revisit a project and learn from it. I think there are some direct benefits to leaving our consulting bubble for the day and talking to young people about the benefits of GI. We are prompted with new questions and perspectives that make us think creatively about how these solutions can address challenges within communities.
GQ: My favorite part was the one-on-one conversations with the students. They are preparing for their wastewater treatment operator’s exam, and I enjoyed hearing their first impressions. Their big picture questions were appreciated by all.
The biggest thing I thought about was what happens to our project sites after our work is done. Is there something else we could be doing to make maintenance easier for the client?
If I had to choose one word to summarize the day, it would be “fulfilling!” – Gabby
GQ: People really enjoyed the training. The students were curious and asked tough questions. Questions included: How effective is GI as a strategy? What kind of nutrients will this remove? During the landscaping of the bioretention areas, they wanted to know about weeds, invasive plants, and why planting native plants matters. I was a little nervous about fitting in the time for this opportunity, but if I had to choose one word to describe the day it would be “fulfilling.” I am glad that I made time and I feel good about our project work at the school and look forward to hearing about the students’ next steps. It is important to be available to volunteer as you always take something good away.