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I’m Allie Rauch. I am a rising junior majoring in Environmental Science and Policy with minors in Education and Earth/Ocean Sciences. My hobbies and on-campus involvements range from working with Duke Dining to organizing a large event for Duke Science Olympiad as the President. I’m from Philadelphia, so D.C. is relatively familiar to me.

I arrived yesterday to Washington, D.C. and moved into my 8th floor dorm apartment. The green rooftop in the building has views of The Capitol, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and The Jefferson Memorial. On the drive down, my eyes were peeled on everything we passed by (don’t worry, I wasn’t driving). I’ve been to D.C. before but never like this. This is my first time here that I will not be a tourist and that I will truly engage with the community here. The city will change a lot over the next couple days with Memorial Day, but I know that it is a deeply unique and special city.

For my Independent Project, I will be interning at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). The NAAEE is a leader in environmental education work. They have many focuses, including promoting teacher training in environmental education (EE), promoting more widespread EE, crafting guidelines for EE, and promoting research. Through a grant from the NAAEE, I am on a project with faculty and graduate students at Duke, writing summaries of EE journal articles. This has taught me so much leading up to this summer and made me even more excited. I will continue this work throughout the summer, and I think that the combination will give me a deeper understanding of the field.

I love EE because of the ways it looks to work on helping the environment. While conservation-focused work is extremely important, it works at fixing the problems we already have. EE works at motivating and engaging people to take part in the field and tackle problems, some of which we don’t even know about yet. EE has a significant focus on collective action, or the idea that when many people take smaller steps together, the impacts can be tremendous. This reminds me of the starfish thrower or those who stop the baby throwers. Both are extremely important. EE to me is akin to training people to be interested and capable at throwing the starfish back into the water. While some EE work is starfish throwing and some is stopping the baby throwers, it is an intersection of the two, in large parts.

At the NAAEE this summer, I am going to be on 2 main projects (though things may change). One is working on an advocacy toolkit and the other is crafting a state-by-state guide on the existing legislation for EE. I will also be attending various meetings and webinars and keeping up a blog. Through all of this, I expect to learn so much about so many different aspects of EE and hopefully I will be more equipped as I move forward in Environmental fields.