Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ethics and Stewardship by Austin W.

Our first unit was about Ethics & stewardship. So far this year in charter I have learned a couple of new things, one thing I learned was how the littlest things can cause the biggest problems for our eco system and the things that live in them.

Environmental ethics means to make the right decision that can effect the environment. Environmental stewardship means to take care of the environment so we can preserve it for the future generations. One thing that we did was find our ecological footprint. To see what our Ecological footprint is, we went to www.myfootprint.org. My footprint was 3.45, which means that if everyone in the world lived like me we would need 3.45 Earths.

You can reduce your ecological footprint by changing your behavior.

Something that I learned about was pollution. Pollution is contamination of the environment. There is not just one type of pollution. Some examples are: water pollution, noise pollution and air pollution. Water pollution is when un-natural things, such as oil, find a way into the water. Water pollution can also come by when water runs down the storm drains in the streets. Noise pollution is when you can’t hear the natural environment that you are in. Air pollution is pollution that is in the air that comes from chemicals like gasses. (Green house gasses, propane, etc.) We also learned about environmental awareness. Environmental awareness is about being aware of the environment, not just around you, but environments in far away places. For example, Japan’s environmental problems with the nuclear pollution and the earthquakes.

Environmental awareness is also about composting your fruit and veggie scraps instead of sending them to the landfill.

Something that I have learned that I can share with others is, by observing and watching what the teacher shows in class, I can learn a lot. Some people I learned from were Bill and Chris from the Renewable Resource Center. They taught me what I can put in my compost pile and what I can’t. They also told me about different types of pollution, and what resources we have used the most in the past century. I have also learned from Mr. Schultz at the prairie and on one of the first days of school. He told everyone about different types of prairie plants, like Showey golden rod, and which types of plants are native and which are not. When Mr. Schultz came the first time we were working in the court yard, at that time he told us what plants to take out of the court yard and what plants they put in the courtyard last year, now the courtyard looks fantastic compared to when we started. These were both very exciting field days.

This unit was very fun. If I could I would do the unit over again, but we have to move on to the next unit which should be very exciting. I liked the prairie because some schools take field days to indoor places and this one outside in nature on a beautiful day. It was interesting because who gets to learn about a prairie for science class?! This unit was fun because our teacher, Ms. Strobel, is fun and amazing and the best teacher ever!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Little School on the Prairie

On September 28th, students in the Green Lake Global and Environmental Academy had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at the Green Lake Conference Center, learning about prairie plants in a hands on setting. Local experts Tom and Wendy Schultz led the activities by showing students the different types of plant life that commonly grow in the prairie and how to identify them by their unique characteristics. After the lesson, students were each assigned their own plant let loose in the prairie to try and find their plant among all of plants growing free on the land. Students were completely engaged and excited to find their plants, and many of them constructed bouquets from the plants they collected. The weather couldn't have been better; blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and vibrantly colored plants added to the perfect day. Seventh grade Austin W. said, "I loved this day! I wish we could do this entire unit again so that we could go back." "It was a fabulous experience for our students and their teachers--who are also pretty fabulous," stated Wendy Schultz. If you see a GEA student, be sure to ask them about their prairie plant and how to spot it in a field!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ecological Awareness

The 7th and 8th graders were treated today with a speech by keynote speaker Margaret Swedish, founder of Spirituality and Ecological Hope and author of “Living Beyond the End of the World; A Spirituality of Hope.” She took students on a journey through the Earth over time, showcasing our ecological footprint over the span of her life. “In just 62 years, the Earth has changed dramatically. We’ve done a lot of damage to this place we call home.” Showing the students photos of how Earth appears from outer space, they were amazed to see that even though the United States isn’t the largest country on Earth, we the largest ecological footprint. They also learned that if every country had the same standard of living as us, we would need almost 5 whole planets to support the usage. “We are now at a point that we are living beyond the ability of the Earth to support us, “Swedish explained.  “We are in debt and we are spending more than we currently have. We are in debt with the planet and the planet can not replenish it.”  She then challenged the students to think about things in their lifetime that they could do to help diminish their ecological footprint. Danny suggested finding new ways to recycle plastic and safer ways to mine resources. Students were shocked to find out that plastic never breaks down. Swedish stated: “Think about how much plastic you use…..you go to the store, you get something in a plastic bag. You buy bottled water and soda. Every 5 minutes of every day in the United States, 2 million plastic bottles are used.  It’s one material that the Earth is not able to break down, ever. If all the humans disappeared from the earth today, 10 thousand years later there would still be plastic. Where the plastic ends up is forever.” Seventh grade student Sully D. remarked; “we need to start cleaning up the world because it’s a big mess. Soon, we’re gonna run out of resources.”
Danny K explains his suggestions on reducing our ecological footprint