Naomi Neal, Kathryn Stresak, Dorian Gomberg, Ed Vlcek, and Brad Krautwurst are Shimer students participating in the Shimer Internship/Mentorship (SIM) Program. They regularly post updates about their internship experiences.
This post is from Naomi Neal, who is interning with the Tryon Farm.
I got home yesterday evening from my first formal week as an intern for Tryon Farm and the Tryon Farm Institute in Michigan City, Indiana. So far, I've been working in the Institute office, helping in the preparation for The Birds + The Bees Festival, which TFI is putting on during the week of June 22nd in honor of National Pollinator Week. In addition to these and a few other duties, I've also been learning the land and figuring out what place I have in it.
The Birds + The Bees Festival, which will consist of some public, educational-entertainment events and some private educational events for children in school and foster home groups, is by no means an inexpensive endeavor for the Insitute, so the bulk of my work this week went to the task of finding sponsors for the events, making cold calls and sending emails to members of the local business community. Talk about working outside my comfort zone! As my best friend will tell you, I'm a hard woman to get on the telephone, so it took me a little psyching-up to call total strangers and eloquently request monetary support. But all in all, I managed to not make too much of a fool of myself on the phone, and helped to get three sponsors on board with the event. One of these sponsors specifically mentioned that she wanted to contribute because of her preexisting concern for the bee population crisis. The Birds + The Bees events will include the screening of a documentary on that very topic, as well as hands-on workshops in beekeeping and cultivating pollinator-friendly gardens. For more information, see the poster below:
I think the experience of confronting and conquering my phone-phobia provided me with a good lesson that I hope will follow me for the rest of my internship at Tryon and, perhaps, my professional career in the green construction field: not everything is easy or immediately enjoyable for you, but when you know you're working for a good cause, even those tasks for which you may not be initially suited have meaning, and keeping that in mind makes them easy and enjoyable. Even talking on the phone can be Arendtian, philosophically-rewarding action when it is toward a considered end.
Besides securing sponsorships, I also made plans for upcoming projects. On Tuesday I'll be putting in a large pumpkin patch on TFI land near the back of a large meadow, and there are endless considerations--water, humane deer-repellent--to be made. I also spoke with a fellow intern from the IIT Architecture program, with whom I'll be working on the construction of a bird-watching blind in that same meadow. I'm excited to work in these different areas of Tryon's life, and to approach the work of conservation from several angles.
I also began reading one of the books which has been lent to me for my edification from my various Tryon mentors, but I'll confess that I haven't made much headway. I'm around a hundred pages from the end of War & Peace and its story and characters run through my mind throughout the day. It's wonderful to feel this way about a book again--the way I felt as a child, reading--but I really should get down to my work reading, both for Tryon and for my upcoming Shimer senior thesis. Hopefully I'll finish my foray into the Napoleonic Wars soon and knuckle down.
In conclusion, here is a picture of a chicken. I'm afraid that I don't know this chicken yet--or rooster--but there's plenty of time for that, I suppose.