End of the Semester
Environmental Adventures closes out another great season with a firework display of student led projects, professional guest speakers, and a very special field trip. Even though the weather got colder Students from Austin College and Career Academy and Michelle Clark High School came together to learn about and develop a plan to create their own green city. Students utilized their previous lessons on trash management, recycling, energy, and food along with new lessons on integrating natural areas, urban planning and social policy decision making to create their own model city, Jiggyville, a name voted on for its slogan “we keep it moving”. Students took on roles and responsibilities in the design of the responsible city of their dreams while adding their own ideas. “Jiggyville doesn’t need to use gas cars” Jermaine, head of transportation, said stunning the class. “we are all electric we can trade in empty batteries for full batteries at gas stations, so we can still stop there for snacks”. “HEALTHY SNACKS!” shouted Lariah, head of Jiggyville’s Department of Agriculture. While students competed for positions like “chief of police” and of course “mayor”, One student, Richard asked to oversee waste and recycling. “Of course, I want to make sure the city is clean, but I want to find cool ways to use the stuff people recycle”
To continue our goal of empowering our students Environmental Adventures brought in Afterschool Matters senior instructor Michael Levesque. Mr.Levesque has an amazing background in both education and communication and shared his experience with the class. Students learned great tricks to both better understand and better communicate with everyone from fellow classmates to potential employers. Just as important the class discussed important topics like codeswitching, talking “white” and marketing yourself to someone who doesn’t like you. Students were astounded when they realized the power that changing their pronunciation of words could have. One student known for mumbling impressed the entire class when he practiced Mr. Levesque techniques “Man EJ you need to talk like that all the time you sound like the principle or something”.
To end 2017 with a bang, students took a trip to the Brookfield zoo. However, this was not your typical high school trip. Manger of Highschool and College programs Luis Mendez of the Chicago Zoological Society provided students a crash course in what it really takes to operate a major zoo and importantly how one can have a career in wildlife, customer relations, veterinary medicine, education, research, and more! Students were allowed to enter before the public opening of the zoo to interact with crews. Students watched and learned as one keeper provided two bald eagles their morning guinea pig breakfast and asked questions, while another provided fish for many penguins and flying birds. Luis also shared some of the behind the scenes research at the zoo including their current Mexican grey wolf projects that, who knows, our students may work on one day.
Written By: Kyle Reid