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Trail of Zest

October 7, 2010 1 comment

**Originally penned on October 6, 2010 while walking the Augusta Canal Heritage Trail

It does not seem that I’ve upset the Cardinals too much by sitting at this picnic table. Moments before I waltzed over they were fluttering about. Now I just hear them calling at intervals above me. I’ve paused a moment to write because I find that my best thinking is not conducted in the bathroom/john/loo but outside on a trail, walking. Granted that I’m not walking now serves to contradict my earlier statement. However, my valid excuse is that my hand writing is horrible enough when I’m sitting; I’d be a fool to attempt the task while standing!

Today I’ve come to walk the trail paralleling the Augusta Canal. With the completion of my outdoor based job last Thursday, I find that I am experiencing an outdoor deficiency. Also to mention, the white walls of my apartment make me feel that I am in an asylum or prison.

So I sit here in the freedom of the outdoors pen in hand with a myriad of sounds surrounding me [from] water flowing over rocks, geese bantering, crickets chirping, leaves falling and someone striking rock against rock in an effort to make [one of the] piece[s] smaller.

I cannot criticize him for what he’s doing. I’m still shocked to see him out here: young and of Latin descent. Both of which are minorities.

I thought about that (minorities and the outdoors) even before this [very] moment today which undoubtedly adds to my continued shock. I wonder how many minorities are in Natural Resources. How many old or young, male or female, Latin, Asian, or Black [all] born here in America (another topic, another day).

I know the number is small indeed but often I feel like the only minority. I don’t know where else to go to connect with a group of diverse professionals (established or entry-level) without spending money for memberships or finding that a site is hardly used or updated even. on some levels it’s disheartening [but] on others it’s encouraging.

Encouraging like the email I received for a job interview in Louisiana. Encouraging like the career dreams that I hope can contribute, if even a little, to the enhancement of the life of people and wildlife. Simply encouraging.

So I’m thankful today that I was able to come to this trail; thankful for the thoughts transcribed and [those] still embedded in my mind. It is truly wonderful.

Alabama Colleges/Universities

September 26, 2010 2 comments

Hi!

I completed Alabama today for schools that have environmentally based programs/majors like wildlife, forestry, fisheries etc. I’m pretty frustrated right now because I couldn’t figure out to get Google Documents to work like I did earlier this year with the layout of the sheet. I’ve simply grown content with what I have though. The links have been updated, degree programs, contact information…everything. I had hoped to have more states completed than this but alas…. I’m surprised not only at how long it has taken me but by how many of the sites change their pages since earlier this year (March/April). Granted I have spent a good deal of time working on the other states as well this weekend but it has been fun.

I added a new column known as MANRRS which stands for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. I was involved in the student chapters of both The Wildlife Society (TWS) and MANRRS so I’ve had the best of both. The purpose of including MANRRS is for those schools which lack a TWS chapter but has another means for students to be professionally involved. It was spurred as a result of a conversation I had about two years ago at  MANRRS conference when I asked a Black American wildlife student why he wasn’t involved in TWS. His response was that he already had what he needed from MANRRS. Understandable (even if I didn’t wholly agree with his argument as a fellow wildlifer).

I hope you enjoy. Please remember this document is an adaptation from the TWS compilation of schools/universities throughout the US which carry accredited programs of study on the environment.  So don’t forget to click through to Alabama’s Colleges and Universities with Environmental Programs in Wildlife, Forestry, Fisheries, Natural Resources, Environmental Science or what have you. =)

Accessibility of Minority Grants for college

March 26, 2010 5 comments

Since I started college four years ago, the amount of minority participation in higher education has increased. To note a minority is defined as “any group in society that consists of people who are identified by some biological, social, or cultural trait and who are singled out as objects of prejudice and discrimination (Popenoe 2001).” David Popenoe goes on to say that the five ethnic groups that are most visible are African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and white ethnics. With such an increase in minority participation in higher education there has been an increasing need to give a financial means for them to complete studies with little financial burden. Scholarships have definitely served in this area and fellowships in the case of graduate students. Still minority grants don’t seem to be readily accessible to the individual.

Grants are monies allocated to various entities whether they are individuals, corporations or non-profits. All grants require an application process. For college students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) serves as the application for federal grants. Minorities benefit greatly by taking the twenty or so minutes to fill out this document as receipt of the Pell Grant, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (among others) can deliver help as I’ve experienced personally. Albeit, as stated on Collegescholarships.org receipt of other federal grants is dependent on whether one is eligible to receive the Pell grant. So if you’re not eligible for the Pell grant you’re immediately ineligible to receive any of the other federal grants….Though with grants being available through the Federal Reserve’s one would assume that this is sufficient for a college education. However, this doesn’t hold true with the continuous increase in educational costs. So where does one turn when the FAFSA isn’t enough?

Collegescholarships.org identifies United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Hispanic College Fund, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the American Indian College Fund as potential resources for the searching minority. I can only speak on my experience with UNCF in the past, however. Five years ago I was exposed to the UNCF website which has a wealth of information for the minority who qualifies. Yet, I wasn’t even able to touch a single penny from the website because I wasn’t planning to attend any of the UNCF partner colleges/universities. So what is the minority attending a predominately white institution to do? The actual arduous application process that normally accompanies grants was not only foreign to me but out of my league in terms of time and knowledge of how to search then apply for them. Personally, I don’t think grants are the way to go for the undergraduate student. Instead they should direct their focus on scholarships which require action (application, essays etc.) yet are more familiar than grants. That’s not to say that the FAFSA shouldn’t be completed and the grants offered accepted, but I do feel minority college grants aren’t accessible to the undergraduate. Now that I’ve completed my tenure and plan to attend graduate school, I’ll begin the same extensive funding search yet again with the intentions of coming out with as little loans as possible. So perhaps in some month’s time I’ll stumble upon information that serves to contradict my current frame of mind concerning minority grant accessibility for the undergraduate. I truly hope so.

****Popenoe, David. Sociology, 11th ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 2001.

****Collegescholarships.com. Minority College Grant Programs. 2010.