Coming to a Close

Where has the summer gone?

At the end of this week I’ll be packing my things and heading out of Chicago. My internship will be over, technically, and the time I’ve spent at NPK will be remembered through the work done and these blog posts that I’ve written each week.

I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity again to do all of the things I’ve done these past few months, or let alone this past week.

I went and saw the Corpse Flower! If you remember my post from last week, the Chicago Botanic Garden is housing a very rare and very foul smelling flower. It still hasn’t bloomed – hopefully this upcoming week – but it was still very exciting to see.

But as a whole, the Chicago Botanic Garden was gorgeous. I went on a perfect day with great weather and was able to enjoy each part of the garden, even if it was huge.

There were gardens designed like Japanese and English gardens, an aquatic garden and even a Bonsai exhibit that looked like large forests scaled down and in a container. They were beautiful to see and I loved being able to have the experience through my internship.

But, also being an intern, I wrote blogs on blogs on blogs this week. In order for NPK to keep up with their blogging dedicated solely to business related topics, I’m creating a file of blogs that they can choose from biweekly. This week I wrote on plant care experts’ advice for house plants and where to go to enjoy plants in the city. They were both very cool to write and I think that it has a lot to do with knowing these are posts that everyone can benefit from reading but are also interacting with NPK staff.

I have one more week left in the city and with NPK. It’ll be a busy week but I’m looking forward to that feeling of accomplishment when I look back over the projects created and executed throughout the summer.

 

 

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Fine Tuning

Guys… this week, I’m going to see a giant Indonesian flower, hopefully, bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This Titan Arum, or Corpse Flower, is already close to 5 feet tall and its girth alone is a little over 2 feet. This thing looks like it could be straight off a Dr. Seuss cover – it’s so comical looking and the smell is something you can not make up. The Chicago Botanic Garden’s blog describes it as smelling like Limburger cheese, rotting meat, rotting fish, sweaty socks, Chloraseptic, moth balls, but also a sweet floral scent to top it all off.

Anyway, this flower is massive and it’s going to be so cool to see even if I don’t get to see it in bloom. Click the picture below and you can read more about the flower from the Chicago Botanic Garden:

Time-lapse footage courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, August 2014. Photos taken every 20 minutes from 9:10 a.m. at the start of bloom to 8:50 a.m. the following day.

 

You can also see a live feed of a Corpse Flower at the Denver Botanic Gardens here:

This is one of the many cool things I get to experience from working at NPK Associates, Inc. No, we do not have a giant corpse flower in stock. Thank goodness. But if I wasn’t within the plant world, would I ever know of a huge flower that can grow to be taller than me and emits a scent that attracts flies miles away? Nope. Nope, I wouldn’t.

This week at NPK will include lots of writing. Blogs, content edits, social media posts, blogs, content, blogs, blogs – did I mention I’d be writing a few blog posts? I love the writing that I do for NPK because the plant world, the ones that I know truly get to enjoy the posts, is so passionate about their interests. I mean, the Titan Arum is the perfect example – who else in the world would be so excited and want to house a giant flower that smells like rotting fish? Plant people. They love this stuff.

But what I love is sharing all of the things I’m learning about in the plant world. Today, after having to completely re-film our first video blog last week, I’ll be trapping Leah in a room with no sound so that I can get perfect voice over material from here and then I’ll edit the footage we have to be able to present, seriously this time, our first ever NPK Associates, Inc. VIDEO blog.

I’m also meeting lots of people within the plant world – this past week I was able to connect with AmericanHort for an interview in an upcoming blog post. It’s great being able to connect with organizations and companies through blogging. If I am able to catch the blooming of the Corpse Flower, I hope to be able to hold my breath long enough to catch a few viewers there as well to interview and connect them with a whole other side of plant life – NPK Associates, Inc.

Solid

I keep thinking about how plant-less my life is going to be in two short weeks. On my desk is a Janet Craig, poor thing probably needs to be watered some more. On the side of me is a ponytail palm, which I stare at constantly because it’s so different. I walk into the warehouse and I feel like I’m on the set of Jurassic Park, tropical plants are literally tripping me when I walk to the office.

Although no one could say that I was blessed with a green thumb, I’m considering keeping the plant aspect alive in my house. As bad as I am for caring for them when they’re my own – my parents never allowing me to have a dog makes so much sense to me now – I think not having the greenery around me would be too sad.

Week by week, I have a different involvement with the plant side of the business. Sometimes I’m really hands on with service technicians and installations, other times I can just be found behind my computer screen under piles of notebooks and coffee cups.

I think this week, although mostly at the desk, had a good amount of plant influence – even if it mostly consisted of just writing about plants.

I’ve written 3, now 4, blog posts this week. And I’m loving it because for the official NPK Blog I want them to be like mini articles, so being able to write blogs for NPK that have detailed quotes and references is awesome and is also helping me to sharpen my journalistic experience.

I finished a large blogging project this week on NPK’s collaboration with Rose Pest solutions to promote pollinator health. I interviewed our contact at Rose and a few coworkers at NPK to help describe why pollinators are so important to our environment. You can check out the blog and pictures here:

Design work has been big this week as well. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ll be sending out quarterly newsletters and an announcement postcard about Meet the Team and our social media pages. So this week has been spent fine tuning the content but also designing the templates that will be sent out. Not using an Adobe product for layout designs is so foreign to me, but I’m happy with the product we’re creating. Gaining these new skills is incredibly important to me. I also just spelled incredibly wrong probably four times, so maybe the next software I need to be trained on will involve enhancing my spelling.

Two more weeks are left and they will be filled with blogs, content writing and enjoying all of the plants around me as much as I can. Which reminds me, I can’t forget to water Janet Craig…

Enjoy the blog post and look for more to come!

Tying Up

I know I’m not the only one who hates loose ends.

 

I’ve covered this topic in previous blog posts about how frustrating it is to want a project to be done because you’re so excited to have others see it. It was another one of those weeks.

Last week, Leah and I filmed a video on how to prune and pinch plants so they are able to grow and be healthy. The filming went well, minus the sound difficulties, but the editing was crazy!

After a whole week of attempting to edit the video using my Asus, I decided to suck it up and return to where I learned all of my editing techniques: Macbook Pro. After a much easier time reducing the background noise from downtown Chicago and stringing the videos together to create a fluid sequence, we’re on our way to publishing! After a few edits later this week our first video blog will be published!

Now, with only a few weeks left, I’ll be focusing on creating content for long term projects. Everything from newsletters to future blogs will be written in these weeks and it’ll be exciting to have a vault of material to choose from when continuing our publicity for NPK.

This week will be focused on that and a very exciting collaboration with Rose Pest Control! Rose Pest Control is in the process, with NPK, of installing a display to promote pollinator health. Yes, they are an exterminator company that wants to encourage bugs! Bugs do not always equal unwanted pests. NPK knows insects and other “pests” contribute to the health of plants and are excited to join Rose Pest Control in promoting this around the Chicago area.

We’ve also had an addition to our Meet the Team page! If you didn’t have the chance to take a look last week, you can do so here: meet the team blog

So, while I’m tying up the ends of projects here and there to prepare for the final internship projects at NPK, be sure to check in and see what we’re publishing week to week!

Turning Points

Although a lot has been accomplished during my internship with NPK,  I’m very excited to announce that the big project that I’ve been working towards is finally ready to be seen by the public!

Meet our NPK team here: meet the team blog

 

After gathering all 14 interviews, writing their biographies, taking their picture and trying to figure out WordPress web design, they are finally done! I’m most excited about this project because not only are we now implementing it into other future projects but that I was able to really take the time to learn about this business and those that work here. It’s nice to take my journalism background and be able to apply it within this internship.

Next, like I mentioned last week, comes the editing of the blog video on pruning and pinching. I’ve done lots of video edits over the years but I am definitely learning that trying to create a video that successfully exhibits a “how to” is a lot more difficult than I had originally thought! Every frame should exhibit a step in the process and, seeing as how we were in the middle of Chicago filming, it can be difficult to be sure you have each step down.

But – not to worry, because trial and error will end up making this video the tool that it should be! The content for the video is written and ready to roll out when the edits are finally completed and that will be very exciting.

I also learned how to create a successful job flyer this past week. We are hiring for two different positions here at NPK – one in sales and one as a service supervisor. I wanted to create two flyers that could be sent to various schools that were easy enough to read but could also capture students’ attention. Using InDesign, I created two flyers that exhibited pictures of NPK designs and gave a brief rundown of what the positions entailed.

flyer

 

Only a few more weeks left to go and we still have more projects to accomplish! But as excited as I am for those, I’m very happy with what has been achieved so far.