Sc3 2017 - Students Lead On Conservation Challenges
This was the central guiding question for Sc3 2017, the 9th annual gathering of student environmental leaders held each June at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV.
Sc3 is organized around four main components - Inspiration, Collaboration, Self-direction and Inclusion.
For one week, 112 students and faculty from across the US and around the world were inspired by world-renown scientists, artists, economists and each other. They learned to collaborate as they participated in team building activities, project planning sessions, service projects, skill-building workshops and plenty of outdoor fun including a paddling trip on the Potomac River. The students directed a large portion of the agenda through a process called Open Space Technology (OST), in which they set the topics for the small discussion groups, select their area of interest, and create a final group presentation to report back to the entire Congress at the end of the week. Fellows who return to Sc3 after their first year serve as Student Mentors that facilitate the discussion groups and help guide the creation of the presentation. Inclusivity is emphasized throughout every aspect of Sc3. We believe that every student has something to share, every student has something to learn, and every student should feel welcomed, valued and a part of the Sc3 community. Ultimately, these four ingredients make up the secret sauce that gives the Student Fellows the opportunity to explore new ideas, form lasting connections with nature and each other, and lay the groundwork for leading others to do the same.
This year, the OST groups created by the students were:
- 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, & Rot
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Wildlife Preservation
- Fostering Community Activism & Civic Engagement
- Inspire Through Art
- Water Preservation
- Promoting Sustainable Economics
- Education Through Conservation
Throughout the week, the Student Fellows began putting their dreams into action as they created Action Plans to 1) Design, 2) Develop and 3) Deliver a conservation project in the upcoming school year.
For the next nine months, with the help of the Sc3 Action Plan Toolkit and peer Action Plan Advisors, the Fellows will create real and lasting change in their schools and communities, building local teams to help them carry out their plans. They will pitch their ideas to decision makers, raise funds for materials, recruit allies to help, adapt to challenges and improve their plans, reflect and report back on their progress, assess their impact, and CELEBRATE their SUCCESS. The benefits of their work will be individually localized, but will collectively reach far and wide, spreading the word about conservation around the world while helping communities address issues important to them.
A sampling of the Student Action Plan topics include:
- Lake Forest, IL - “I’ll create an app that will mobilize people, specifically teens to volunteer by organizing conservation organizations by category so that teens can match their interest with service.”
- Washington, DC - “My plan is to request my school to install a water barrel to store rainwater that would normally go into the street as runoff.“
- Hoboken, NJ - “I will take a group of students from my school to the Hudson River to collect as much garbage as we possibly can.”
- Saline, MI - “My plan is to get my school’s sports stadium powered by solar or wind energy.”
- Pittsburgh, PA - “I will design and build pollinator "hotels" for the Pittsburgh Zoo, PPG Aquarium, and the Frick Environmental Center.”
- Basking Ridge, NJ - “I will to start a Bioblitz event that will repeat at least every year, to build a better understanding of our campus's biodiversity and educate students about the habitats and species in our community.”
- Washington, DC - “I want to raise awareness on the chemicals that are in cigarette butts and how they help to pollute rivers and oceans.”
- Culver, IN - “I plan on developing a hydroponic system that will hopefully be adopted into the science curriculum and help educate students on sustainable agriculture.”
- Farmington, CT - “I will work to bring a bee hive to my school's campus and create borders of native plants to support the bees. I would also like to educate the children of my school's affiliated elementary school to teach them about the importance of bees and other pollinators in the ecosystem.”
- Washington, DC - “My plan is to replace the disposable lunch trays in my school with reusable ones.”
- Houston, TX - “I want to bring people to the understanding that climate change is indeed animportant issue in our world today.”
- Austin, TX - “The idea I have is to bring high school students to elementary schools and teach kids about our impact on the environment and sustainability.”
- Shenzhen, China - “My plan is to teach the students in my school about the importance of conserving water.”
- Washington, DC - “My idea for my project is to create a Green Team for every DC public school. Students who have a passion for protecting and bettering our environment can earn community service and internship hours while helping to create an economically and environmentally sustainable world.”
- Burlingame, CA - “I will plan an Sc3 training in California to raise awareness of the topics and issues addressed at Sc3.”
- Inwood, WV - “My plan is to create an outdoor classroom program for my school.”
- Washington, DC - “My Action Plan includes implementing a single-stream recycling program at my school to reduce our total waste and disposal.”