Changing Lives through Service Learning/Environmental Service Learning: Creating Lifelong Stewards


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Changing Lives through Service Learning/Environmental Service Learning: Creating Lifelong Stewards

  1. 1. Mary Pardee, 4-H Youth Development Educator, Barron County October 20, 2010 – CES Connections & Engagement Conference
  2. 2. Service-Learning projects designed to maintain, protect and/or restore the health of the environment. Have all elements of Service-Learning in a project with an environmental focus.
  3. 3. What are your observations regarding youth and the environment?
  4. 4. Service- Learning Science Inquiry Sense of Place Environmental Sensitivity
  5. 5.  Only 18% of U.S. high school seniors are proficient in science (NAEP 2005)  Only 5% of current U.S. college graduates earn science, engineering, or technology degrees compared to 66% in Japan and 59% in China National Assessment of Educational Progress. (NAEP).
  6. 6. Engages youth in hands-on investigations to satisfy curiosity and construct mental frameworks that help explain their experiences.  Observing  Comparing and measuring  Ordering and categorizing  Relating and inferring  Applying
  7. 7. Views the natural world with empathy Aspects of development:  Frequent outdoor experiences  Role models such as parents or teachers
  8. 8. Object vs. Relation study: Loughland, Tony et al. (2003). Factors Influencing Young People’s Conceptions of Environment. Environmental Education Research, vol. 9(1).  1 in 8 students perceived the environment as being related to them.  Balancing environmental and social concerns makes “relation” conception more likely.
  9. 9. Intimacy with the natural process, community, and history of a place, based on experiences with that place.
  10. 10. Dimensions:  Biophysical – Contact with a setting, ecological knowledge  Psychological – Emotional and functional attachment  Social– People, experiences and memories (cultural)  Political-Economic – Power and identity relationships Ardoin, Nicole M. (2008). Sense of Place and Environmentally Responsible Behavior: What the Research Says. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
  11. 11. Cross, Jennifer E. (2001). Protecting our place: Establishing and maintaining community attachments in the face of population growth and change. (Doctoral Dissertation). Davis, CA: University of California, Davis. Relationship Type of Bond Process Biographical Historical and familial Being born in and living in a place Spiritual Emotional, intangible Feeling a sense of belonging Ideological Moral and ethical Living according to moral guidelines for human responsibility for a place Commodified Cognitive (based on choice) Choosing a place based on traits Dependent Material Constrained by lack of choice
  12. 12. Can we apply these concepts in Service-Learning projects?
  13. 13. All the benefits of Service-Learning, plus:  Opportunities to research and analyze environmental information;  Opportunities to determine and practice positive solutions to problems;  Enhance understanding of the environment;  Give youth a sense of pride in the natural communities around them;  Increase cooperation between youth groups and natural resource professionals. Clifton, L., Mauney, T., & Falkner. R. (1998). Take a class outdoors: A guidebook for environmental service-learning. Clemson, SC: National Dropout Prevention Center College of Health, Education and Human Development.
  14. 14. Youth have the ability to…  Take initiative  Make decisions  Put their ideas into action …about the environment they live in.
  15. 15. Sauk County YEPS Program (Youth Environmental Projects of Sauk) found that youth who participated in environmental service-learning projects:  Learned life skills such as communication and teamwork  Learned knowledge such as being able to identify tree species  Understood how humans can positively and negatively affect the environment.
  16. 16. Sauk County YEPS Program (Youth Environmental Projects of Sauk) found that youth who participated in environmental service-learning projects:  Formed a positive environmental attitude  Believed they could personally help improve the environment. Jens, J. and Kates, B. (2006). Best practices of forestry service-learning projects: A practical guide for formal and nonformal educators. Wisconsin Environmental Education Board and the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.
  17. 17. TMTTR - 2008 partnership with National Park Service Service-Learning projects included:  Storm drain stenciling  Public education/awareness campaigns  River clean ups
  18. 18. Resources:  Service-Learning Materials for project leaders  “Watershed Champion” curriculum materials for youth  Website with information  Brochure to inform/invite youth organizations  Evaluations and recognition
  19. 19. After stenciling storm drains, educating residents and cleaning up trash in the riverside park, 23 high school students answered questions as part of their reflection.  65% mentioned that they made residents aware of issues such as runoff, dumping waste into storm drains and littering. “I felt like I was actually helping the community.”
  20. 20.  95% thought their work helped improve the environment.
  21. 21.  All 23 students stated they will do something differently in the future because of their service- learning project. Behaviors mentioned: not littering anymore, picking up trash when the see it, teaching others when the opportunity arises “I feel connected to the St. Croix because it’s literally a part of me. I drink, I use, I shower in the water it provides me.” “It (the St. Croix River) is a part of my life even though I never realized it.”
  22. 22. 2010-2011 Community water conservation projects
  23. 23. Resources:  Funding – up to $1000 per county  Access to assistance  “Water Conservation in Your Home” Activity Guide  “Conducting a Service-Learning Project” leader’s guide  Evaluation and recognition materials  Information/ideas on STEM website
  24. 24. 15 counties participating – Results from 11 so far: In 11 counties, 765 youth:  Made 273 rain barrels  Created 4 rain gardens And everything that goes along with that…
  25. 25. Youth have:  Been in charge of placing rain gardens and choosing plants  Been the lead contact person for the project; wrote funding request  Provided education for younger children
  26. 26. Youth have:  Taught rain barrel workshops for families  Shared information at public events such as county fairs and Earth Day celebrations
  27. 27. Youth have worked with:  Land and Water Conservation Department employees  DNR employees  Master Gardeners  UW-Extension Agriculture/Horticulture and Nutrition Educators, Basin Educators  4-H adult leaders
  28. 28. In Juneau County, youth grades K-6:  Reported learning about how much rainwater comes off a roof  Believe they helped their community by saving water and electricity  Took an active role in educating others about saving water  Will do things differently in the future because of their rain barrel project: use rain water for gardening, ride bike more, use a rain barrel to save water
  29. 29. Give Water A Hand Youth Action Guide and Leader Guidebook for protecting and improving water resources. Holding on to the Green Zone Action Guide and Leader Guide for the study and stewardship of community riparian areas. Best Practices of Forestry Service-Learning Projects
  30. 30. Connecting the Coasts Website: Investigate and act on Lake Superior Basin issues. Water Action Volunteers (WAV) Citizen Science program to learn about and improve the quality of Wisconsin’s streams and rivers. 4-H2O Replenish Conserving water using hands-on technology.