Currently I work at the EcoTarium, a museum of science and nature in Worcester, Massachusetts. There, I am a full time museum educator and camp director. The EcoTarium’s mission is to inspire a passion for science and nature. We meet this mission in many ways – through hands on interactive exhibits, educational programming, preserving natural history collections, and housing rehabilitated local wildlife that cannot be released back into the wild. The EcoTarium has great goals and hopes for future development. Our facility offers an educational experience for visitors that encourage environmental stewardship practices, but I am thinking about the overall community at large.
The EcoTarium occasionally takes part in community events, and we also work with other community partners to promote environmental educational programs and visits to the museum. However, I feel we are lacking in community leadership. We jump right on opportunities that promote marketing, but we don’t go out in the community and make efforts to promote environmental stewardship.
The EcoTarium should be a leader of environmental stewardship in our community. I feel that there are many opportunities for this to happen:
- I would love to see us help clean more city parks, or start up a community garden, or work with schools to promote waste reduction and sustainable energy sources.
- I would like to see us work with the many local colleges and universities to create internship programs involving local ecological research, community outreach, and urban ecology.
- I would like to see us be more involved with citizen science projects, and contributing to the larger scientific community.
- I would like to see more people of Worcester enjoy the benefits of the EcoTarium. The majority of our members do not live in the city of Worcester. How can we make membership more accessible to our city? Could we offer a day of the month that is free to Worcester residents?
I am still adjusting to city life, but it makes me sad to meet people who live in Worcester and have never even heard of the EcoTarium (and it has been here for over fifty years). Overall, my frustrations are issues that I feel have possible solutions. I hope that in the short-term, we can begin the dialogue of our role as environmental stewards of Worcester, and how we hope to move forward with our leadership.
Written by Kate Banyas.