I became unemployed in August of 2016. In my mind, I felt I would be gainfully employed again by February 2017 at the latest. Well, it’s April and despite 63 applications, I have only been invited to two interviews and have had 31 rejection emails. Three years ago, I had three job offers before I finished my last position. It’s a different and scary world out there. I wonder how much of it is the political and financial state of Illinois, how much of it is the current federal government with all the cuts and wrong people in charge, how much of it is my age (now 52), or is it a little out of column A, a little out of column B, and a smidge out of column C?
Whatever the reason, I know one thing. I can’t stay still waiting for someone to see me as the right candidate for their position or for me to fit myself into a position that I will likely be miserable in. In December, I decided to do something for myself and others and created a platform to do what I do best, educate. I knew I wanted to connect the public with scientists, to bring awareness about what they do on a daily basis. I also wanted to bring some more creative elements to the mix. With so many beautiful nature pictures my friends and others have taken, I wanted to share those as well. I was having difficulty coming up with a name even though I had an idea of what I wanted to convey. Like so many of my better ideas, it came to me in the middle of the night, The People and Nature Connection. I was familiar with Weebly as a site builder, so I started creating what I wanted it to look like.
Then, I knew I needed a good logo and hired a graphic design site to create something simple, but eloquent. Then, I got my networking hat on and went to task on finding scientists and artists. I started with those I knew, and thankfully they agreed. From there, it was all about letting people know that I wanted to promote them for free! I searched all the social media sites and Google, and continue to do so, to find what I was looking for. I introduced myself to people I have never met and told them about my goals for the site. Those who answered, did enthusiastically, and I am grateful for that. I knew I had to do this as a labor of love with my own funds for it to fly. I also knew the strength of social media and that I needed to use the three main venues (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to my advantage. I knew I had to cross-post to get those who follow me on my social media sites to also follow my website. I did have an ace in my pocket for social media with my daughter who works as a social media site campaign coordinator in Chicago. Lucky me.
I've found the experience so far has 1) afforded me something worthwhile to do, 2) given me the power to do what I love to do under my own rules and schedule, 3) helped me connect with some amazing people from all over the world, and 4) filled the void of self-value by doing important work. I’m my own boss with this venture and it would be great if I could earn a living doing it. Maybe in the future, something will come about, but for now I’m enjoying the ride and opportunities.
I have almost filled the year 2017 features and I am always looking for scientists and artists to promote. If you are one or know of someone I should invite, please contact me using the contact page. - Kirsten
Hello, My name is Kirsten Hope Walker. I have been an environmental educator for over 20 years. My passion is talking to the public about how to coexist with wildlife. It's my hope that you will ask questions and find my features and blogs interesting. Thanks for your support.