It is truly an honor to live in Nebraska City, the Home of Arbor Day and to share a love of trees, conservation and environmental stewardship with leaders and many local and regional citizens.
As Nebraskan's prepare to celebrate the 141st Arbor Day, April 26-28, 2013, we want to extend an invitation to join us in planting trees.Julius Sterling Morton, former Secretary of Agriculture under President Cleveland, is known as the father of today's international holiday to plant and celebrate trees. He resided in Nebraska City
in what is known today as Arbor Lodge Mansion
with his wife Caroline and four son's, Joy, Mark, Paul and Carl. Learn more about J. Sterling Morton, his legacy and the history of Arbor Day here
.The impact of planting trees goes well beyond beauty and habitat. Learn more about the benefits of trees here and consider planting trees in your yard and community.
We also want to extend an invitation for you to visit and celebrate Arbor Day right here in Nebraska City, Nebraska - Arbor Day's Hometown, Where Great Ideas Grow! Click here
and scroll down the page for a list of activities as well as the schedule of events.
Last week, my daughter and I went to see The Lorax
in 3-D. It was a great movie with so many lessons and messages. Being an advocate for environmental initiatives, I feel passionately that we all must be conscientious of the choices we make today that are and will continue to influence our world in the future. I realize there is no "one-fix", but it is instead a culimination of many efforts which just validates the vital necessity that we all "care enough" and "do something"...from "speaking for the trees" to asking not-so-popular questions and opening discussions that need to be further considered.
So is there an area in your life - that influences or impacts our world and environment - that you feel passionate? Do you care enough to step out and "do something"? As Dr. Seuss states in the book, The Lorax
, and as a final quote posted in the movie, "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
As Arbor Day is around the corner, my family will be planting trees. How about you? If you are interested in learning more, starting a movement in your community or just straight up helping with this effort, visit Arbor Day Foundation
. See just how many ways you can advocate and "Speak for the Trees". I challenge you to care enough and make a difference today!
Use of Email and Personal Example
As stated by Gary Schroeder, “Today, email is the most popular form of business communications – far surpassing the telephone, conventional mail and fax in volume” (Schroeder, 2011, p 363, para1). I was reminded of this today after being out of my office for just one day. As I logged into the internet in my hotel and opening my Outlook, I soon realized that it was uploading more than 170 emails since I shut down and packed my computer this morning prior to leaving town. Of these, ninety-percent are direct communications requiring my response, while about ten-percent are a result of spam or my inclusion on a state-wide distribution list or from opt-in or opt-out strategies by organizations, blogs and newsletters that I subscribe to.
Having recently read the drawbacks of e-mail, Schroeder mentions that “researchers have found that most managers can deal with e-mail messages at an average rate of about five minutes per message,” (Schroeder, 2011, p 363, para 4). He goes on to estimate that once someone receives more than 20-30 a day, they are likely spending more than two hours just dealing with email. Therefore, I immediately began calculating the time I will spend yet tonight reading and responding to this massive number of communications in my inbox. And in realizing this epiphany, also realize that this number will double again tomorrow as my business trip will keep me away another day. Therefore, this issue of time consumption is an issue that hits home with me. Many days, I attempt to determine what has been accomplished, especially when I realize that very few of the tasks on my “to do” list have been completed. Targeted Email
In an effort to streamline the organization of inbound email communications for a variety of projects, I have established specific email addresses for each project and utilize the “rules” tool in Outlook to help automatically sort messages into specific project folders and sub-folders. This is one of the possible solutions Schroeder mentions as a way of thwarting spam, another issue that continues to gain momentum with more and more visibility and connections that companies make.
These issues also lead me to consider my email etiquette and strategies to target my emails to specific audiences and related to particular topics, subjects and sub-categories. Information provided by WebWise Media promotes double opt-in email marketing tools. They claim to offer “targeted permission-based opt-in email lists as well as localized zip code email services” at a price that is highly affordable (WebWise Media, para 1). They also suggest that using their email tool will provide you with 100% legal and spam-free lists based on individuals opting in and expressing they are interested in receiving information regarding specific subjects. Many businesses, organizations and people utilize email marketing/content management programs such as Constant Contact, iContact, Benchmark, MailChimp, AWeber, Vertical Response and many others for this specific purpose. Most require the opt-in selection by those one invites to receive emails. I have used a variety of these programs and I have done a comparison as each has their own key features and benefits. Using tools such as these is a good practice if you wish to maintain a positive reputation and to gain favor by followers because it gives them the option of controlling the type and amount of information they receive from you.
In planning and promoting events, I rely on multiple list services to disseminate my publicity in order to inform specific and targeted audiences of education and networking opportunities that maybe relevant to their field of work or interests. Unfortunately, relying on multiple list holders opens my messages up to being rejected or to upsetting some who did not intend to receive emails for information or topics they may not have originally agreed to receive. Thus, by default, they may be included in these communications and it has become more and more obvious that it is a concern for my reputation. I would like to purchase an email/content management system that allows the individuals included in these multiple lists to opt-in to receive emails directly from me. With the increase in email communications and given my feelings about my time, I feel opt-in is the best choice if given time to strategically organize and plan.
With regard to email etiquette, there are many tips available for people to consider. How someone responds or fails to respond leaves an impression with those awaiting responses. Some of the issues and tips that I came upon include the following:
- Respond to emails promptly and thoroughly, being sure to answer or address all questions or concerns within the message
- Be sure to educate your staff, volunteers, employees and advocates as to what can or cannot be shared
- Always include an email signature with contact information at the bottom of emails so responding or further contact can be easily located
- Be concise and to the point
- Be professional and always use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
- Only attach necessary files
- Do not overuse the high-priority status
- Be selective on using “reply to all”
- Be sure to disclose mass email addresses by using the blind carbon copy rather than using “to”.
- Do not request deliver and read receipts unless necessary
- Use of all caps projects “yelling”
- Always read and reread messages before sending.
Additional tips can be viewed at http://emailreplies.com
In closing, it is important that one utilizes email as a selective and effective tool for communicating. If an opportunity exists to provide people the ability to opt-in, it should be the norm. Finally, following proper and professional email etiquette is essential in further strengthening and reinforcing your personal reputation. Before sending a message, stop, re-read it and ask yourself if you would respond to it. References:
AWeber Communications. (2012). Opt-in Email Marketing Tools. Retrieved February 8, 2012 from http://www.aweber.com
Benchmark email. (2012). Newsletter Marketing Tools For You. Retrieved February 8, 2012 from http://www.benchmarkemail.com
Constant Contact. (2012). Retrieved February 8, 2012 from http://www.constantcontact.com/index.jsp
iContact. (2012). Email and Social Media Marketing. Retrieved February 8, 2012 from http://www.icontact.com
Email Replies.com (n.a.). Email Etiquette. Retrieved February 8, 2011 from http://emailreplies.com
MailChimp. (2012). Easy Email Newsletters. Retrieved February 8, 2012 from http://mailchimp.com
Schneider, Gary P. (2011). Electronic Commerce, 9th Edition.
Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.
Vertical Marketing. (2012). Email Marketing And a Whole Lot More! Retrieved February 8, 2012 from http://www.verticalresponse.com
WebWise Media. (n.a.) Targeted Opt-In Email Marketing Service. Retrieved February 8, 2011 from http://www.webwisemedia.com/EmailMarketing.php
As I continue to work in the areas of community and economic development and also with a focus on environmental and efficiency practices, the term "sustainable" continues to emerge. I use the word "sustainable" and "sustainability" to define an over-arching holistic vision of everything from efficiency and profitability to transitional and sustaining activities that mold and change with the times...yet still rely on our dependence on nature. I have decided to pursue this concept much further...I personally intend to research "sustainable models" from communities to organizations. I hope to find "steps to become" or to identify key characteristics so that such can be developed. I cannot help but think it has to exist...somewhere. Someone has been working on this for years...question is where is it, how do I find it, is it applicable to the challenges of our "today" and for our "tomorrow". If you have resources to assist me in this journey of discovery and likely enlightenment, please share!
In my opinion, and as was with my "X-er" generation, it was expected/encouraged to leave our small communities and "go be successful"...giving us all the perception that we had to leave to
succeed. This is still a challenge that we face...although I think Millennials and Homelanders are and will continue to embrace relational and social values of rural living more than we give them credit for. If we as adults lead the change in OUR "assumed and projected" expectation and beliefs that today's youth are also leaving because local opportunities are limited, than we can begin to break throuh a somewhat self-inflicted delima.
Why do youth leave? Because...
1) We adults give them the perception it is what they need to do
2) They do not perceive there are opportunities locally
3) They do not feel like valuable - an adult has not asked them to return AND
4) They are not asked what they want to see in their communities to meets their current and future quality of life interests.
Community leaders, program directors, resource providers, parents, etc. either do 'for them' or 'to them' what we think they want. We
rarely "ask them" what they think or what would like.
If we are all doing all we can in our rural communities to: 1) ask youth what they think can improve their quality of life to; 2) seek their ideas in solving problem that currently or will influence them in the future to; 3) get them behind the doors of our businesses, organizations, and industries to let them "see & experience" the technology and opportunities they are being told don't exist to; 4) mentor and prepare them for their next journey to; 5) engage them and to; 6) let them know we value their unique gifts, interest and abilities...we will see them staying, returning or attracting growth!
How are we/will we do this?
Youth leadership, entrepreneurship and community engagement activities are and will help break this assumption. Coupled with the online offering of continuing education via most colleges/institutions, the acceptance of certifications and with the vast new types of technology-based opportunities - many yet to be developed and realized by many of these youth in these generations - the "need" to "have to go away" is not much of an obstacle any more.
At the same time, all of us who have gone away and returned recognize the added cultural, societal, economic, and experiental/life lessons we have acquired and brought home. So, if we intentionally all work together in our communities to create and sustain practices and programs to mentor and nurture relationships and plug youth into potential business transitional and career development opportunities, give them a mailbox or even just a continual message that we WANT them to stay or 'land' back home...we will see our attraction numbers increase.
These efforts may help youth overcome 'their perceived beliefs' that if they 'end up back home' that they failed. Alumni associations, churches, chambers, economic developers, community foundations, area educational opportunities, workforce & career developers, business/industry, concerned passionate adults & youth...have to work together to embrace the opportunity to strategically make this a priority and an 'every day' practice/purpose! #growourown
Today, I received the emailed, October issue of the GenTrends
newsletter from the Center for Generational Studies. They asked me to submit an article and this was such an honor! Below is the article they published per my submission. I have done research during my masters program based on generational diversity in the workplace as well as technologically-advanced entrepreneurial trends by Millennials. I personally the advances inspired by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack with Apple and Charles Geschke with Adobe are just beginning to be realized. With Mobile Learning, There is
an App for That! With Mobile Learning, there is an App for That! Published in the October, 21, 2011, GenTrends e-Newsletter #132
Mobile devices are changing the way companies operate. Initially thought to be distractions, mobile devices are gaining attention for their capacity to provide workers access to just-in-time information and resources that not only improve worker productivity while on the job, but also helps to foster interactions that speed the transfer of knowledge, and improve overall learning.
Mobile apps are gaining favor as there are thousands of apps instantly available for virtually all job functions and careers. The benefit is their speed and portability. According to a Mashable study
, more than half of the 82% of U.S. adult cell phone users now use apps on their phones, and more than two-thirds of them use those apps regularly.
With the ability to download directly to SmartPhones or Tablets, mobile apps 1) improve performance by providing instant access to information and resource tools; 2) provide instant, direct-line communication that increases interactions between users and experts; 3) provide companies a cost-efficient process for uploading photos, videos or information files.
As techno-tolerant workers continue to enter the workforce, and seasoned workers adopt these tools, apps will compliment then begin to replace practices that include training manuals, charts, file storage systems, and IT support. How are companies using mobile apps?
- Structured Training: Training teams have the ability to poll, quiz or survey participants via an app during training sessions or team meetings. This can greatly increase retention, knowledge and skills.
- Hands-On Learning: Field workers benefit from instant access to "how to" manuals, demo videos, and internet search browsers for on-the-job training, or to expand their knowledge in real-time.
- Integrated Networks: The ability to connect with other employees through an intranet, internet or social networking is valuable. Customized apps create opportunities for companies to build channels to instantly transfer information, network with peers, and gain direct and instant feedback.
As an exercise, take a minute to Google search apps by job function or category, career classifications, or industry-specific resources. Search general "apps for (insert profession)" or specific "MAC apps for graphic designers". You'll be surprised by what you find. Companies embracing mobile apps will enhance individual learning and retention, improve on-the-job performance, and provide instant access to unlimited information and a higher level of global connectivity.To learn more from the generational diversity experts at the Center for Generational Studies, visit www.generationaldiversity.com.
Many people were in debate over whether or not they believe in global warming...but how can one not notice the changing length of seasons, increased earth temperatures that have been tracked and documented by scientists along with the changing chemicals measured in the environment. This along with the decrease in ice masses that are also documented and are visibly depleting seem to make it clear. Here is a nice video by National Geographic...what are your thoughts? http://bit.ly/80mHns
You will find that I am seeking to learn about the latest and upcoming advances, applications and impacts of renewable and sustainable energies, environmental products and services, and best practices. Note the categories below in the right column.
As an advocate for economic development, entrepreneurship and environmental responsibility, I would like to share my thoughts, opinions and enlightenments. This blog is intended to be an open dialogue with my visitors.