I asked our Environmental intern, Opeyemi Adetifa from Masters Degree Course in Sustainable Development under the direction of Dr. Ken Boyle, for his thoughts about interning with us so far this year; he has joined us from TU Dublin in this highly unusual year. Here are his thoughts! – How is it going, Opeyemi?
“It has been a pleasure to work with Orla on the #EasyTreesie project. Working with her has been fun from the beginning. From my first day, she made me feel comfortable and at ease. Her enthusiasm for tree planting and the environment is unmatched, so there is no shortage of passion there. Anyone remotely interested in tree planting and the environment is going to love her. Being an intern here at #EasyTreesie is one of the best chances a student like me could ask for, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I have had numerous opportunities to meet with many individuals working in the fields of sustainability and tree/environmental advocacy. I have had the opportunity to hear their perspectives and expertise on a variety of environmental issues which has helped me to gain a better understanding of environmental challenges. A highlight of my internship was working with Orla and a group of international volunteers on TEDxCrannTreesforIreland, which was one of my favourite periods throughout my time there. I was able to gain a new perspective on social issues, environmental issues and how tree planting and environmental campaigning are carried out in other countries as a result of this experience.
I was able to work on #EasyTreesie’s customer relationship management (CRM), this will be really helpful in organising #EasyTreesie’s data about trees, contacts, donations and so on. I am delighted I had the opportunity to learn how to use Salesforce and learn about how it can improve the productivity of businesses and particularly NGOs like #Easytreesie and Crann. Another highlight of my time at #Easytreesie was visiting Tolka River Valley Park with Orla, Stephen Doody (community liaison officer) and Rachel a Trinity College final year student. I enjoyed learning about Ireland’s flora and fauna. It was quite interesting to see and learn about the different species most common in Ireland. My favourite was the magnificent looking willow, Salix babylonica – . the downward facing pinasti leaves make it look really magnificent. It was pointed out to us on the banks of the Tolka River on a field trip to its public golf course managed for ecology by the Dublin City Council gardener at this park, Michael Burke. I had the opportunity to attend a seminar by Rethink Ireland, one of #Easytreesie’s sponsor, it was a seminar about diversity and inclusion. I loved this seminar because it was interesting to hear about how our unconscious biases can sometimes affect our worldview and first impressions of others. I also took the opportunity when asked to talk about #Easytreesie’s diverse TEDxCrannTreesforIreland team.
As an MSc student at TU Dublin, I am required do a research project. This, I will be doing in the area of behavioural change. Specifically, on what the Irish population perceive as barriers towards more pro-environmental behaviours. With inspiration from Orla and the #Easytreesie project, I also want to find out if there is a relationship or correlation between planting trees and other interaction with nature and pro-environmental behaviours.
Coming from Nigeria, it was really interesting to see the similarities and differences Nigeria and Ireland, the weather, the people, the culture and so on. I remember packing my bags to travel and thinking to myself ‘how much cold can it really be over there? I don’t think I need a puffer jacket’, I could not be more wrong. Coming during an unprecedented time like the pandemic, I experienced school a little differently than what I would have experienced if I had been 3 years earlier. If I told someone back home in Nigeria that I completed my MSc without stepping a foot in the classroom, they would not believe me at first, I am glad to have experience school virtually because it has strengthened my collaboration and teamwork skills considerably. Through doing different group presentations, assignments and projects, my ways of communicating, complimenting, and working with team members have improved a lot.
I feel privileged and grateful to have been given the opportunity to intern at #Easytreesie, and I will suggest it to anyone interested in pursuing an internship in the fields of environmental advocacy, sustainability, and other related fields in the future.”