Leaving Singapore

It’s the last few hours in Singapore. I’m pretty sure I will miss this place, where nice to travel, good to work, and comfortable to live.3-pic

Through this internship, I learned how to communicate with people in different background. it is nice to meet these people and make friends with them.

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I love the weather in Singapore as well. It is a little bit like Tampa, sometimes it rains on the afternoon, but for the most of time, it’s sunny and warm.5-pic

Comfortable Work Environment

The place I’m working is a branch company of Steelcase, which is for sale and after sale services. during the work, we can help ourselves to have a cup of coffee or tea, and even free snacks.

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The desks, chairs and sofa are all products of Steelcase their own. So during the work I can also enjoy the expensive furniture that I can not afford. In addition, at the corner of the office, there are a lot of material sample, including wood, textile, and plastics.

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The mission boss gives me is to do a market research in Singapore about educational market. It is a challenge for me but interesting. Through the marketing research, I need contact with the potential customers, or even develop some potential customers. It is hard, but I’m trying my best.

The Power 2 Change

The City

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The City of Atlanta, or Atlanta, is located in the north-central part of the state of Georgia, which has been one of the top growth areas of the country for the last two decades. Atlanta was established in 1847, and since then it has provided municipal services to its residents, citizens, and visitors.  These services include police and fire department, the maintenance of streets, roads and street lighting and other infrastructures. It provides recreational activities and cultural events, public transportation, municipal health services, land use and building regulations. The City is also responsible for the energy and water supply, and sewage collection and disposal operations. The City is also the home of the worlds’ most transited airport, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport [1]. The City of Atlanta forms part of the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (MSA), or commonly known as the Metropolitan Atlanta. The Metropolitan Atlanta is number nine in the largest metropolitan areas in the country and has become known as a leading center for logistic activities and business. The area represents one the biggest national and international transportation hub and it is among the top three distributions cities in the U.S., As a result, Atlanta has ranked number three in the country for the number of FORTUNE 500 company headquarters. The City has built a powerful economic base and was lately ranked 10th nationwide as an important technology market. The City of Atlanta also ranks 10th in the nation economy and social well-being with a gross domestic product of approximately $295 billion[2].

The Initiative

Addressing sustainability in cities like Atlanta is a complex undertaking, demanding respect and a comprehensive understanding of the interconnected nature of social, economic and environmental issues, and collaboration across all established jurisdictions, municipalities,  geographies, fields, and expertise. Meeting Atlanta’s sustainability development goals, therefore, entails complementary efforts at different scales and domains, where everyone and every single entity and organization is relevant, and where everyone has a role to play, and everyone has a responsibility to work to accelerate progress towards sustainability across the city.

Power to Change aims to offer a clear path forward for all Atlantans in these commitments, joining national best practices with local context, leveraging the work of countless individuals and organizations from the public and private sector, across many impact areas, and giving all a sense of shared accomplishment and purpose.

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As Atlanta’s citywide sustainability energy, Power to Change is the result of the contributions of more than 250 stakeholders across the city, representing their businesses,  neighborhoods, their schools, their community organizations and their government agencies. The input and continuing commitments and efforts of these individuals and organizations are what make Power to Change (P2C) alive and powerful, transforming goals, targets and initiatives into a better Atlanta.

Power to Change employs this framework of co-creation processes to build a strong foundation for measurable sustainability actions around 10 impact areas, joining and leading sustainability cities around the globe by using this compelling approach.

My Internship Experience

This fall I had the most incredible and fascinating government experience by working as an intern at the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a great honor for me to be part of a learning process that allows me to get a different perspective and a professional experience from the so-called public sector. During my internship program, I primarily assisted two departments and their corresponding green initiatives in addressing Atlanta’s sustainability efforts. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in two internships during this fall semester with different focus areas but with very interlinked domains.

The Urban Agriculture Department

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The goal of urban agriculture in Atlanta is to support and strengthen an equitable and healthy local food economy. To achieve this, the following are some of the actions and activities performed so far by Dr. Mario Cambadella, the Urban Agriculture Director, and his incredible team:

  • The city has provided technical and conceptual drawings for design and construction of the Capital View Community Garden Landscape Plan as well as supervised community work days.
  • The department has streamlined the permitting process for urban and community gardens to make it easier for farmers to do what they love to do best, grow, distribute and sell food.
  • The Department has also secured dozens of grants to strengthen Atlanta’s Urban Agriculture (UA) Network and increase access to local, healthy, and fresh produce. The awards include the GRO1000 grant to give social entrepreneurs an opportunity to grow and sell edible plants and a U.S. Forest Service grant to establish a food forest in Southwest part of Atlanta.
  • Thanks to the assistance and strategic partnership with Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, the Department of UA has completed the Customized Food Hub Assessment Tool Kit for the City of Atlanta.
  • Additionally, The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability has established a Community Supported Agriculture drop-off location at the City Hall with the local farming cooperative, Global Growers.

I participated and assisted the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Urban Agriculture Legal Internship program. This program allowed me to acquire significant learning experience to seek for career options and develop professional skills in a diversity of leadership disciplines such as community engagement, urban agriculture development, and management, sustainability, urban planning, water conservation programs and many other related fields. By participating in programs such as the first Food Forest of the City, I understood and unleashed an interest in learning how urban agriculture can help to achieve the goal of making Atlanta a top-tier city for sustainability by the year 2025. The purpose of this position in the Internship Program was to develop a passionate and skilled leader in me, committed to urban agriculture as one of the critical components of sustainability progress in the city.

Working closing with the Urban Agriculture Director Dr. Mario Cambardella and Elizabeth Beak, his fellow, my primary responsibilities were: UA policy research, grant writing and editing, legal research, and analysis and the placemaking of the first Food Forest in the City. I actively participated in projects such as the opening of a fresh farmers’ market at the Five Points, one of the Marta Train Stations in the City. I also participated in the Food Forest Workshops and the site-visit and celebration of the Food Forest in the Browns Mills Farm.

The Climate Resilience and Renewable Department

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Atlanta’s City Hall

Atlanta has been one of the first cities in Georgia to pass a Climate Action Plan and has been a leader in solar energy programs.

The director, Dr. Jairo Garcia has been on the most dedicated sustainability practitioner in achieving new milestones on transition initiatives that act upon turning Atlanta as one of the most sustainable low-carbon Cities. The actions performed by this department are the following:

  • In 2016, the City began installing solar panels at more than 25 facilities across the city, half of wich are located in the low-income neighborhoods and minority communities.
  • The City of Atlanta was one of the major cities in the Southeast to participate in the COP21 Climate talks held in Paris. Also, the City was recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission for the Climate Action Plan developed for the city.
  • Atlanta has been recently honored as one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities” in strengthening its ability to face the impacts of climate change such as flooding and heat islands.
  • Finally, the City of Atlanta has been recognized by the Center for Disease Control as a top ten worldwide Greenhouse Gas emissions reporter.

My internship experience in this department was to work in close collaboration with doctor Jairo in the Climate & Renewables policy research, GH Gases Inventories, updating, writing and editing the 2016 GRI-G4 Sustainability Report, and contributing to the update of the Atlanta Climate Action Plan. This role offered me a broad range of experience on Climate & Renewables Master Plans, GHG Emissions Inventories, GRI Sustainability Reporting, and Solar Atlanta. This position also gave me the opportunity to explore and develop a passionate and skilled leadership in public engagement, policy research, conceptual master plan designs, and working with great partners across the city.

1-2 “The City of Atlanta, Georgia, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report For the Year Ended June 30, 2015”. http://www.atlantaga.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=20459

Links of Interest

http://www.atlantaga.gov/

http://p2catl.com/

http://www.atlantastreetsalive.com/

Week 6: Internship Conclusion

This week at the farm we had some promising growth happen over the last couple days. Two of our plants have started to produce fruit for the short Fall season in Florida. The two plants that are bearing fruit are the American Plum tree and the Yellow Passion Fruit vine. Over the last six weeks I have been putting in extra effort and care into preparing the passion fruit for the small growing opportunity in early November. I have been posting the progress of these plants in my previous blogs and on our social media pages. However, what we did not expect was for the American Plums to produce some fruit during the Fall as well. This occurrence is out of season and not supposed to happen until Spring here in Florida. This particular plum tree has around 5 plums dangling from its branches currently, but the same tree a couple feet away has nothing. I have been tending to these trees all Fall in hopes that they would grow enough to produce plums during their grow season in spring. This is the first time that these trees have produced any fruit since they were planted years ago. Below are some of the pictures I took of the fruit currently on our farm.

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During my time here on the farm I have learned several skills involving the construction of various urban farming infrastructure. These include a chicken coops, vertical strawberry gardens, and drip irrigation systems. When I start my own urban farm these skills will be very useful in beginning with a strong foundation. As for the social media aspect of my internship, I’d say it has been going well. As of this week we have increased our page likes to 565 people and reaching  1370 people via comments, likes, and shares. During the harvest season this increase in potential customers should really help to turn a profit next year. We’ve expanded the number of products available, while branching out into new markets in order to meet the demands of our new customers. We have added avocados, bananas, basil, carrots, sweet potato, mango, and strawberries. Plans for the future continue to be focused on farm fresh eggs and possibly cascade hops.

I finished my internship up just a few days ago and have learned so much over the past couple months. It brought me happiness knowing that the work I did not only promotes a sustainable future, but also helped to produce nourishment for people. Each day on the farm was quite enjoyable. Even after days of sweating and pulling weeds and handling feces I was still able to have a smile on my face. I guess this means I’m doing what I was meant to do. It feels good and I hope everyone has an opportunity to do something that makes them happy. At the end  of this month my 50 page paper is due. However, I am not concerned as I feel as if I could write a 100 page paper. The presentation is going to have a lot of pictures and some graphs to help present my data in a effective method. Excited to get my degree, but sad to be finally done with school. Its time to go out and change the world. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time. Thank you everyone for all your support and I plan to make the Patel College very happy.

Wrapping up in Belize

We are now wrapping up the portion of the project that I’m working on in village.  The overall sustainable tourism project will continue as there are many other components that the Social Investment Fund need to complete. To complete my last objectives for this project, it was my responsibility to get the village trainees some practical real world experience to equip them with some basic skills to conduct various tours for visitors to Belize. Last week we completed setting up an initial nature trail tour around the village.  This proved to be very challenging, especially because of weather conditions, but was ultimately successful.

I needed to identify locations for the trainees to visit to gain some practical experience about guiding in different areas from other tour guides as well.  After examining tourism statistics for Belize, major terrestrial attractions that tourist visit includes the ancient Maya sites, caves (especially cave tubing), and the Belize Zoo.  We decided to visit The Belize Zoo, Nohoch Che’en Cave (where the cave tubing occurs) and the ancient Maya city of Xunantunich.


Our first field experience was at the Belize Zoo.  This is a wonderful zoo, recognized worldwide as a model for other zoos.  Rehabilitation and conservation are very important to the Belize zoo.  Majority of the animals are rescued, injured or orphaned animals which are taken to the zoo by residents or the forestry department. The enclosures are large and imitate the animals’ natural habitats as much as possible. You won’t see slabs of concrete with animals on display here. In reality, you may not see many of the animals without the assistance of a local guide or zoo staff because they blend in naturally in the environment they are in. The village trainees from Gracie Rock each had the opportunity to guide on a section of the tour at the zoo.

I explained and demonstrated the internationally acceptable methods for guiding tourists in this type of environment.  They were very excited and receptive and did a wonderful job at the Belize Zoo.

The tour at the cave tubing site was a new experience for most of them.  I had the assistance of another guide, since this was a wet cave tour and had a higher level of challenge and risk involved.  The trainees had a blast. They learned about the natural flora and fauna of the environment and about cave geology.

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Group at Cave Tubing site

 

 

The last trip we did was to the ancient Maya city of Xunantunich. This is all the way in the west of the country. Again, this was a first for majority of the trainees. We had to drive through several communities and cross the Mopan river on a hand-cranked ferry before getting to the site.

There was a troop of howler monkeys chilling in the trees.  It was as if they were there to  greet us when we arrived. The trainees got to tour the entire site and climb the tallest structure, El Castillo.  From the summit, we could see clear into Guatemala and got a panoramic view of the country side.

The trainees from the village had a wonderful experience over the last week of this section of the project.  Almost every person has met the requirements and passed the national assessments as administered by the Belize Tourism Board.  Now, they need to go through the license application process and very shortly they will be licensed guides, conducting eco-tours in and around their community.  The training they received allows them to also guide anywhere throughout the length and breadth of Belize.  This part of the overall sustainable tourism project will allow these villagers to generate income for their families and, with further support, they can setup their own tour operations and run their own business.

 

 

Gracie RockVillagers

We are getting to the part of the project which requires more field work.  The villagers here have shown how dedicated they are to this training that they are receiving.  We need to start early in the day. I recently found out that some of the villagers participating in this project are traveling some far distances and even crossing the river en route to the training venue.  I had the opportunity to accompany some of them to the road leading to their houses.  I was amazed to know that several of them cross the river, paddling a canoe, twice daily everyday.  This is difficult enough seeing as how the river has been consistently flooded over the past few weeks, but one of them does this daily and she cannot swim. Her name is Sirley.  I saw her stand in the canoe and paddle her way across the flooded river. The pictures below were taken while she made her way across the river.

Another one of the trainees has a new born baby boy. Her name is Amalia and most days she has her son with her. He is a welcomed addition to the group.  Amalia doesn’t allow the fact that she has a young baby to keep for from benefiting from this project. She is shown below.  I even spend some time with the baby boy during the sessions to allow her time to complete her work.

This commitment to what they are doing only solidifies the importance of the work that I am doing down here.

Last week we had to set up a nature trail around the village.  All of the participants in the project came out. They came from far, across rivers, catching the bus, biking and even walking.  They endured through swarms of mosquitoes and doctor flies. It was muddy and raining. In the end we accomplished what we set out to do.  It was a great feeling knowing that we were getting closer to the end goal. The next activities will involve more field work.  Below are some pictures from the nature trail. We saw what I believe is a bare-throated tiger heron nesting in a nearby tree.

 

Week 5: Sustainable Progress

This week on the farm my focus was on accessing any biological issues involving our plants and determining the best course of action to solve that problem. As I’ve previously mentioned, when working with an organic materials such as fertilizers and pesticides it is common to apply them more often than traditional chemicals. There have been lots of butterflies fluttering through the farm as of late and with an increase in butterflies we also see an increase in caterpillars. However, on our farm these pests only seem to want one thing and that’s our passion fruit leaves. There are some vines that are seeing tremendous growth, while there are some other vines who just can’t seem to get started. To solve this issue I have been spraying the vines with a combination of Thuricide, Therm X, and water from our well to eliminate the caterpillars on the lower sections of our passion fruit vines. This organic brew of naturally occurring pesticides seems to last just under a week and needs to be applied promptly after. As you can see below, some of our passion fruit vines are really flourishing. Some vines even growing to heights that we can’t reach with our sprayers anymore. I hope that we don’t see another caterpillar infestation near the top. So far this vine and many others with this height have not shown signs of pests near the top. The vine in the picture is well over 20 feet tall and is one of many fruit vines to reach this height on the farm.

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Construction is nearly complete on our vertical strawberry garden system. Farmer Bob decided to stain the wood plank support structure to make it more visually appealing and “rustic” looking. Strawberries really grow well in Florida and are a popular fruit among many of our customers. We gathered this information from comments on our social media pages and plan on giving our customers what they want. At the start of next year we should have a surplus of berries (blueberries and strawberries) and passion fruit available. Strawberries grow from January to November depending on the type and blueberries grow from May to July in Florida depending on the type of plant. Recently, we also planted some mango trees, which have been making some excellent progress and currently without any signs of pests or fungus. Our carrots have also really began to take root as many sprouts have begun to show above the soil. We used recycled materials and our homemade compost to make this possible. Below you will see our almost complete vertical gardens and with the left over materials from that we were able to build an herb garden as well with some quick growth from our carrots.

14632950_542253375958418_281215070757021371_nunnamedWorking on the farm has taught me a lot of skills that I will need in the future for personal and professional endeavors. Adding this to my resume has caused employers to ask questions about what I do there and why. Of course I happily tell them all the details of what goes on at the farm and why it is important not only locally, but globally as well. Even though I get up at 7:45 AM each morning to make it to the farm on I  enjoy every thing I do there. From my first day shoveling chicken feces to the days I spend picking weeds for hours. It feels good knowing that my efforts are contributing to the greater good and helping a local farmer to build his farm. Additionally, upon completion of this internship I will earn my degree and be that much closer to achieving my goal. The Patel School has taught me so much and provided me with an immense amount of opportunities to grow. I will never forget the time I spent here on the farm, along with the joy it brought me helping other in my community. The featured image above is a photo I took arriving at the farm this week. The beauty of the sunrise paired with the greenery of the farm really made me sit back and just enjoy the blessings I have.

The social media campaign continues to gain support from our local community and elsewhere. This week we have added 6 new people to the page bringing our total up to 526. As of today, our current reach for the week has been 425 people. I am extremely excited to see what demand will take place when harvest season comes around. I fear we may have more customers than we can provide for. However, one thing is for sure and that is that this year looks much more promising than last year. The increase in customer communication paired with the addition of several other plant varieties ensures that we will be pulling in a lot more revenue. We have also started an Instagram page that has also been making some decent progress. Since July we have 59 followers and have over 54 posts on our page showcasing what we do on a daily basis. Below is a graph indicating the page growth since I started working on the social media.

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BLUE Ocean Film Festival | P2

⌚️Time for  a Change- a Reflection

In my previous post, we explored a few of the reasons why I accepted an internship with BLUE Ocean Film Festival as well as a few of the smaller projects I have completed for the event during the my first couple of weeks with Make a Difference Media.  Around this same time,not only was I taking a full course load and working as Teachers Assistant for 2 professors, I had a regular job building the website for Patel College.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I give 110% 120% of the time.

12647442_10153187435706673_8646521592862947777_nI am very proud of what i managed to accomplish during my time at PCGS. I started with a broken website, zero social media presence, old flyers, no followers and an ugly blog. I built this blog.  Over the course of a single year (while also taking classes) I mixed, merged and converted almost all of the media distributed by and about the school. The network and newsletter (bi-weekly) became a collaborative effort and a resource for sustainability professionals and partners. During my time, the web presence of Patel College increased by 11,000%+ across all platforms and looked fresh everyday.  Nevertheless, I was starting to become burned out and beginning to get cabin fever. I’ll cover more of this in Part 3, but the point I am making here is that  BLUE Ocean Film Festival became my new focus during a time when I needed change.  I wanted to shift my time and energy towards a project where my hard work would be noticed and appreciated, while making a difference.  An internship can become just this.  It can end up being by becoming the culmination of all of your hard work, wrapped up into a task which has great meaning and a substantial impact.

These days, I am happy with being just a graduate student about to graduate.  I did what I could to make the school better.  Time to transition and shift from talking about change and doing my part to make sure it happens with a quickness.  My internship became a guiding light.

Explorers of The Seas Deserve More Respect

blueocean-experience The ocean is a dream for most of us. For the film makers who submit to BLUE, it is home.  We are all so lucky to have access to such a robust body of works. Everyone chooses for themselves their level of involvement.    Personally, I believe deep sea divers deserve the same amount of respect as astronauts and the oceans, at least the same amount of respect and awe as deep space.  Humans know more about deep space than we do about our oceans.  BLUE Ocean Film Festival has been the platform and the event for showcasing this importance around the world.

Every year, BLUE Ocean Film Festival receives well over 300 film submissions.  Each of these films are reviewed by a carefully selected panel of judges and board members in order to choose the finalists across several categories.

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Web Content Restructuring and Ticket Booth 🎟

During my third week of working with BLUE Ocean Film Festival we began making manyapp much needed changes to the official website.  This included updating around 60 pages with new information for the 2016 event, updating the Global Advisory Board and adding our new guest speakers and creating a new phone app for St. Petersburg for both iPhone and Android platforms to replace the old one.

E-Ticketing

In previous years, BLUE had a ticketing problem which had to be solved quickly.  In previous years, attendees had to perform the entire checkout process for every single ticket they purchased.  This was not sustainable.  Not only was this an annoyance but it created an accounting nightmare.  So, I got to work on a solution. I needed a shopping cart which could hold multiple items, be able to embed it into the site as well as the Facebook page and automatically require the names of the ticket holders before checkout. It is more complicated than you might think.

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I spent close to a week building this new ticket booth.  I learned a lot while making it. We went with Eventbrite  in the end because it had been used before and added some payment processing abilities that were over my head.Never the less…I’m not sad about it.  I have a nice portfolio piece.

You can view a demo of this here.

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First Version of BLUE Ticket Booth

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Skyline of St. Petersburg, Florida

🎟Get Your Tickets to BLUE Ocean Film Festival Here.🎟

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

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Sponsors and Partners of BLUE 2016

None of this would be possible, of course, without the sponsors and partners of BLUE, of which I will close this post in acknowledgement. In the past 6 months with BLUE I have built out several different iterations of sponsor graphics, sliders, banners and web widgets. My favorite version of our sponsor directory can be found here in this demo model I whipped up to share.  Screenshot below:

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Interactive Sponsors and Partners Directory (link above)

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Up Next!

Stay Tuned for Part Three

In my next post, I’ll show you how all of this work begins coming together as we get closer to the event.   I will show you how BLUE Ocean is making an impact locally in downtown St. Petersburg and Globally with BLUE On Tour.

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Get Involved and Spread the Word

If you use social media and enjoy being involved in world changing projects, friend and follow BLUE Ocean Film Festival on the following platforms.  Reach out to us if you would like to volunteer towards the efforts set forth and do your part to help increase ocean literacy worldwide.

Facebook

Twitter

Google +

Instagram

Youtube

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Stay Tuned for Part Three

BLUE Ocean Film Festival | P1

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BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit

Getting Serious for the Oceans

I believe that media can make a difference. I know that communication is as much visual as it is verbal, if not more. For part one of this series, we will explore the ‘if not more’ and begin a short tale of how an internship can ignite a flame under an entirely different side of yourself, previously uncharted. I call this side ocean.

But seriously…

giphyInternships do not just magically appear for anyone- not usually.  You must put in the time and effort towards finding an opportunity which best suits your goals.  Luckily our Internship Coordinator is in constant pursuit of opportunities for us, but it still requires a lot of work to find the right opportunity.  For my Capstone Experience for both masters degrees ( Entrepreneurship/ Sustainable Tourism), I sought an atypical internship experience. I wanted to work for a cause locally while having an effect, globally. In other words, we can all do our best locally to create or inspire noticeable change on a global scale. What better way to put my experience to work for the oceans and in turn, for humanity and all living creatures? What better way to set an example for younger eyes?  Scientists say that we know around 5% of the world’s oceans but in the age of crowd-sourced knowledge, this library is growing exponentially. Normal human activity is naturally disruptive. Naturally, I aim to disrupt that.

Where I am Coming From

I like to recycle experience.  I like to make stuff with data and code with Anthropology on my mind.  At first, I imagined something educational, impactful and simple to love. I pulled from my experience.  Since 2010, I have worked in close collaboration with scientists on sailboats, before enrolling  to USF, called Beautiful Nation Project.  Within Land Surveyors United community, members annually collaborate on the day of the summer solstice for Survey Earth in a Day, remeasuring the entire surface of the planet in a single day with great accuracy. I decided to get involved with an incredible cause in the form of an annual international film festival, as an intern. My mission is a BLUE one.

Where I am Going

00blue-ocean-film-festival-logoMany of you have likely heard about the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit, but I’d bet most of you haven’t thought about how much work goes in to actually making an event like this happen.  In the coming weeks, I will unfold this story in my blog posts for Patel College of Global Sustainability and give you all a bit of insight into what I am doing to help make BLUE 2016 to be a success.

About BLUE Ocean Film Festival

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BLUE Ocean Film Festival 2015 in Monaco

BLUE is an event administered, planned and executed by Make a Difference Media founders Debbie and Charles Kinder.  The first BLUE Ocean event occurred in 2007 in Savanna, GA.  Since then, it has become an internationally recognized catalyst for change and education regarding ocean conservation and ocean literacy.  You can read more about Blue Ocean Festival here, but I would like to briefly point out how the “5 Elements of Blue” factor into global sustainability.

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BLUE Headquarters Downtown St. Petersburg, FL

The five elements of BLUE come together and create a truly unique event which:
• Honors the world’s finest ocean films through the best-in-class film competition.
• Brings together the world’s esteemed leaders and ocean luminaries.
• Presents the world’s most comprehensive underwater film & photography professionals.
• Showcases Science and the Arts for the stewardship of the ocean.
• Changes the way the world sees the ocean.

This year, the festival just happens to be in St. Petersburg, FL on November 10th-13th.  You can get your tickets here on Eventbrite and even become a volunteer by submitting the forms found here.

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How Did I Find This Internship?

It all started with an introduction from the wonderful master of coordination, Rhiannon, to the Co-Founder and CEO of Make a Difference Media, Debbie Kinder.  We met one day in Rhiannon’s office to discuss the types of help needed to get the film festival planning underway. At the time, I had been webmaster for PCGS for close to a year and Mrs. Kinder had seen all of the work I was doing for the college.  The three of us had a brainstorming session and discussed a possible internship, helping BLUE with things like website redesign, social media management, marketing  and content administration for the upcoming event in November.  I was given the initial task of wrangling all of the existing and past social media footprint and developing a plan for how to best reengage followers, reconfigure existing media assets and ultimately reinvigorate participants and followers for the new year.  However, this opportunity came during a time when there was a film submission process in action and over the years the process for submitting films had devolved into something quite difficult and time consuming to manage.  BLUE needed a new method of receiving films for review, so my first action item was to build them a way for film creators to upload their videos directly into a single Youtube channel for review.  This was difficult due to the fact that Youtube had recently disabled the ability for channels to allow community-style uploads.  This meant I would have to build it with the Youtube API as a massive workaround. In fact, I have been told that the only other web app known to exist like this is used by Sundance Film Festival.  You can imagine their excitement when I built this for them.

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Screenshot of Video Uploader for Youtube

Next on the list was taking inventory of all media assets such as video submissions from previous years so that I might make them fresh again. We wanted to celebrate all of the wonderful submissions from previous film festivals to let contributors know that we haven’t forgotten about them in addition to providing some examples of the types of films we accept.  In short, we needed a way to sift through the Youtube Channel videos outside of Youtube.  So, I built a way to filter and jump to specific videos using a Google Spreadsheet at the database.  You can see and play around with a demo of this project here, if you like.

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Up Next!

In my next post, i’ll tell you why I left the Patel College as webmaster in order to convert my internship into a full time job.  I’ll show you more of my work geared towards improving media outreach and helping BLUE reach their goals- helping the world thirst for knowledge about the oceans and how we can collaboratively mend the wounds we’ve dealt the oceans inn exchange for so much life.

blueocean-experience

Get Involved and Spread the Word

giphy1If you use social media and enjoy being involved in world changing projects, friend and follow BLUE Ocean Film Festival on the following platforms.  Reach out to us if you would like to volunteer towards the efforts set forth and do your part to help increase ocean literacy worldwide.

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I will leave you with some action shots from BLUE 2015 in Monaco and a shot of my new office, at the Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach.

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New Headquarters at Don Cesar Hotel St. Pete

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.

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Week 4: Weeds and Weather

Plenty of things going on at Bob’s Berries in Riverview to keep me busy this Fall. A majority of my time was spent weeding our entire blueberry crop this week. We have been running what we call “worm tea” through our drip irrigation system to help stimulate growth outside of season. Although the blueberries love it there are some other flora who do as well. The worm tea not only helps the fruit trees grow, but it also makes the weeds grow enormous as well. The removal of these pests is essential to provide the maximum amount of nutrients to our blueberry trees and not the weeds. Look at the root structure in the picture below of this weed I pulled out of one of our pots. Almost pulled a muscle in my back just trying to get it out. The good news is that we never waste these precious nutrients. All weeds are collected and used in our compost pile to create more healthy soil. We get help from our neighbors, many of which have large yards decorated with various trees and plants. Once a week we collect the trimmings and recycle those into our compost pile as well. Below you can see my  contribution this week of weeds and one of our larger compost piles we have out back.

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The vertical strawberry gardens are also coming along nicely and should be ready for growing season early next year. Going through a redesign we decided to swith the triangular shape for a more basic fence like support. The three rungs will hold a line of strawberries on each side and the ground will support one more. This greatly reduces the amount of horizontal space needed for this garden from six feet to about a foot. We also  added two new types of mango trees to the farm this week. They are the Bailey’s Marvel Mango and the Maha Shanooc Mango. Our list of crops continues to expand each week to provide our customers with the best selection of organic produce in Riverview come the growing season. We are looking to make some partnerships with local farmers markets and fruit stands to market our farm while increasing profitability. Riverview is home to many of these businesses and the locals seems to really enjoy picking our their own food. Additionally, this week we have had to prepare for Hurricane Matthew as it slowly bypasses Florida. Although the hurricane will not  actually hit us, the farm will be experiencing some high winds which can send debris or tree branches into our plants. High winds can also snap our growing saplings or even pull them from the ground. We have taken precautions to stake the more flimsy plants to the ground to prevent any damage. Lets hope for some good luck as we try to avoid any damage from flying debris over the next few days. Last time Tropical Storm Hermine did some damage and we lost a few blueberry trees due to oak tree branches. Looking to avoid that catastrophe again this time around. Rain however, is a good thing and helps us to reduce the amount of water we pull from the ground. Also being an organic farm we don’t need to stress about chemical runoff from fertilizers or pesticides getting into the local waterways. There are so many benefits to switching to an organic agricultural system its honestly shocking that we haven’t done so already. As we attempt to weather the storm here in Florida I wish the rest of you a safe weekend.

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