This is my first semester working for the Environmental Center. I always enjoyed volunteering for the EC, so I knew I would like getting more involved. On the Local Food Team our initiative is to enhance La Plata County’s local food system to ensure that everyone has access to local, healthy foods, and one of our missions was to create ways to get other students involved as well. My teammates came up with some really great ideas, and although I had some thoughts, I wasn’t sure if I should go with them. Eventually I presented my ideas. With open arms, my team encouraged me and Crickets for Lunch was born.
I did a ton of research to make sure that feeding my peers crickets was a good thing to do. That’s when I was introduced to the world of entomophagy. I learned the many benefits of eating bugs, and the many wild ways you can enjoy them. Although I became comfortable with including bugs in my diet, I wasn’t sure if everyone else would be as ready to crunch on crickets. All I could do was present my research and hope that my peers were able to see the benefits and look past the stigma.
With butterflies in my stomach, I displayed what I had worked diligently on. In the middle of the Student Union, it didn’t take much time to gather a crowd. People were shocked to see the treats I was offering- chocolate covered crickets and fried garlic chili crickets. In the most normal way I could attempt, I proposed they try one. My fears of rejection and abundance of leftover crickets were squashed! Shock turned into excitement as people were thrilled to try their first cricket. Since the idea of eating a bug when they didn’t have to see its details was easier to swallow, the chocolate covered crickets were a big hit.
I felt revitalized. The encouragement and support from the Environmental Center gave me the spirit to accomplish what I set out to do. It was awesome seeing my ideas flourish in reality. Working at the EC has been amazing, and I love seeing the incredible things that get generated there by determined students and staff. I also loved getting a first-hand look at how accepting and willing to try new things the scholars at Fort Lewis are. A fire has kindled within me, and I’m excited for all of the future opportunities I have to collaborate, create, and get people involved.
The Environmental Center has given me the tools and training to make changes in the community. I’m always excited to learn more and work on projects that better La Plata county and further. It’s because of programs exactly like the Environmental Center that I chose to attend Fort Lewis. The community at the EC reassures me that I’ve made a great decision. I’ve never felt so involved at school and I can’t wait to see what more we can accomplish.