Eight Steps to Solving an Environmental Problem 

In the Environmental Leadership Program our objective is to equip you with leadership and communication skills for your own advancement. 

One way we do that is to show you an eight step process in which you learn a range of skills from assessment to research, planning, presenting, implementation and so on.

You will see how these eight steps are very manageable and within your capabilities, especially since we — and your fellow interns — will help you every step of the way.

Eight steps …

Whatever career path you pursue, you will have a winning skill set if you are able to …

  1. Identify the need
  2. Assess
  3. Research
  4. Plan
  5. Present
  6. Fund
  7. Implement
  8. Maintain

Here are the steps …

Step 1. Identify the Need 

Identifying the need means looking at a plot of ground and asking,

  • What’s possible here?
  • What can we plant or build or remove that that will make this plot of ground a little healthier for people, plants and animals?

Quite often, the answer will be one of the following …

  • Rain garden
  • Riparian buffer
  • Wetlands restoration
  • Tree planting
  • Healthy woodlands
  • Pollinator meadow
  • Butterfly garden
  • Invasive species removal
  • Organic gardening

Step 2. Assessment 

Once you have identified the need, now you must assess the situation.

For example, …

If your project relates to healthy woodlands, then “assessment” means “tree identification.”

If your project is a rain garden “assessment” means figuring out where to position the garden and what to plant.

If your project involves invasive species removal, you must identify the species to be removed and identify best practices for removing that species.

The Environmental Leadership Program will equip you with all these skills.

Step 3. Research

“Research” means finding out whatever you need to learn, via Google, via friends and mentors and via the Facebook group called “Earth & Spirit Environmental Leadership Program”.

“Research” means whatever you can learn by whatever means.

Find your best way to learn …

At Earth & Spirit Center we are committed to helping you learn via a range of tools and activities, including …

  • Person to person interaction
  • Group communication
  • Team collaboration

Digital collaboration …

  • A Facebook group (called “Earth & Spirit Environmental Leadership Program”) consisting solely of our community of leaders.

Step 4. Make a plan 

Making a plan means formulating steps one, two, three, etc.

For a healthy woodlands project, those steps will include …

  • Tree and plant identification
  • Invasive species removal
  • Replacement plants (if any).
  • A plan for maintenance and follow up.

Steps can also include engaging volunteers, donors and experts.

But don’t worry.

Most of the volunteers, donors and experts that you engage will be people already actively involved with Earth & Spirit Center and will be expecting your call or email.

Step 5. Practice presenting 

Presenting your plan means sharing your recommendations, including …

  • What is the project called?
  • Describe the project.
  • What societal needs does the project address?
  • What are the benefits to the community?
  • What is the cost, in terms of money and volunteer time?

Opportunities to practice … 

At Earth & Spirit Center you will have the opportunity to practice your presentation multiple times so that by the time you have to make a “real” presentation, you will deliver it with ease and confidence.

Step 6. Present to funders. 

This step is optional.

But here’s the thing …

You’ve already done 90% of the work.

You’ve even practiced your presentation.

And Earth & Spirit Center will find the funders for you to present to.

All you have to do is show up and present.

Step 7. Implement 

This is where all your work pays off and you get to implement the project.

Here’s the great part of implementation … if you’ve done the first six steps, then you don’t have to do all the work yourself.

In fact, with adequate funding there may be a paid crew to do the work while you supervise.

You or your classmates could be part of that paid crew.

Step 8. Maintain

Many projects fail for lack of maintenance and follow up.

Gardens don’t get weeded.

Invasive species grow back in because there was no follow up.

But you will build in plans for periodic maintenance, possibly by paid workers, as described above.


You will gain invaluable skills. And you will stand out in any job interview.

And your competitors in the job market are not doing this.

While you must apply yourself and put in the time it will be a relatively pleasurable and engaging process because you will be pursuing your passion and working with others who are doing the same.

To get started, email Hart at nhhagan@gmail.com.

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