Environmental Fair Displays Service-Learning in Action
On April 15, after months of preparation and hard work, 24 St. John Fisher College students and 33 students from The Cobblestone School presented an Environmental Fair showcasing a dozen projects in the Campus Center Mainstage.
Cobblestone students in grades 1-5 were paired with Fisher students from Dr. Michael Boller's Environmental Issues course, part of the College's service-learning curriculum. The groups participated in three project-planning collaborative sessions throughout the semester at Cobblestone, and the project culminated with the fair at Fisher, which was attended by many Cobblestone parents and staff, as well as some Fisher students, faculty, and staff.
The topics that were addressed in the projects included; land resources, global atmospheric change, agriculture and food resources, biological resources, water pollution, nonrenewable resources, solid and hazardous waste, human population change, mineral and soil resources, air and air pollution, oceans and fisheries, and renewable energy.
"The service-learning project's goals were to engage my students with the material at a higher level than standard class work while also helping our community," said Boller. "By teaming them up with the Cobblestone students, they became responsible not only for their own understanding, but also for the learning of elementary students. In watching the engagement from both sides, I think we were successful in achieving those goals and providing an awesome learning experience to some young minds!"
Junior Emily Witty worked in a team with fellow student Casey Thurston and three Cobblestone students on a project about landfills.
"The experience for me was invaluable. It is so important that we do service to educate those around us about the harmful effects of our actions and ways we can help to prevent such issues. The Cobblestone students looked up to us as Fisher students, and if they see the impact we are trying to make on them, they will be more likely to spread the word and teach others about how we can make our world more sustainable," she said.
Witty added that the Cobblestone students were really eager to learn, and had good questions about the topic they were studying.
"On several occasions I was learning from them, and in fact I had to ask Dr. Boller for more detailed information because I was stumped! The students were so smart and so ready to learn. It was great for them to see the College and be able to be proud of all of their hard work in learning about sustainable living and teaching their parents, friends, family, and Fisher community all about their topics," she said.