Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Garden of Growth

Name: Zander Tedjo
From: Sugar Land, TX
Grade: 11
School: University of Texas at Austin
Votes: 0

Zander
Tedjo

Garden
of Growth


Getting
up from the ground, I brush off the dirt on my old jeans. Removing my
worn-out gardening gloves, I look around and see the sweaty but
smiling faces of a group of boys who volunteered on a hot afternoon
in Texas. I glance back at the garden we built with a wide grin
stretched across my face, overjoyed that my Eagle Project was
complete after a long and challenging journey of personal growth and
community service.

My
Eagle Project was to build a raised butterfly garden for Commonwealth
Elementary School. This environmental effort would enable the young
students to learn about gardening and nature while developing a sense
of responsibility by maintaining the garden. In addition, it would
aid the declining population of butterflies. I chose this project
because it allowed me to help both my community and the environment.

I
began my project by researching native butterflies and plants. As I
pored over ecological journals and gardening websites, I learned
about butterflies such as the monarch, painted lady, queen, red
admiral, and American lady. After studying nectar and host plants for
the butterflies, I decided to include plants like milkweed, lantana,
and butterfly bush in my garden. Once my design for the garden was
finished, I had to plan the logistics and acquire the supplies,
materials, tools, and labor needed for the project. Finally, on the
construction day, I led a team of ten youths in building the raised
butterfly garden.

In
total, my Eagle Project took nine months and 51 hours to complete.
Looking back, the biggest challenge I faced was making all the
careful and comprehensive preparations to ensure that the project
went smoothly on construction day. However, the most rewarding part
was leading a successful volunteering project from start to finish
myself and knowing that I made a positive impact on my community.
Over the course of my Eagle Project, I have learned that hard work
and thorough preparation pays off. But more importantly, I have
learned the value of community service and the feeling of fulfillment
that comes with helping others. If I were to come back to my project
several years later, I would be confident that I made a difference,
even if it was a small one, because the elementary students and local
butterflies benefitted from my volunteer efforts.

In
fact, my drive for helping people and the environment has continued
with me to this day. As an undergraduate studying electrical
engineering, I plan on attending graduate school and researching
about nanotechnology, optoelectronics, and solar cells, with the
particular goal of making energy more sustainable and efficient. My
work would be meaningful and forward looking because clean energy is
an important field for the future since fossil fuels will eventually
run out while the environment continues to suffer due to pollution
and global warming. As a result, researching alternative energy and
making technology more efficient allows me contribute to society,
improve the environment and change the world.


Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".