News

December 22, 2009

Lafayette Students Will Learn about the Environment and Mentor Elementary Students in Interim Course to New Zealand

Trip will be documented through online journals, blogs, videos, and photos

Twenty-two students will spend their winter break discovering the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science by exploring New Zealand and sharing what they learn through webcasts with third-and seventh-graders from Martinsburg Elementary School in Martinsburg, Pa.

During the three-week course, the students, who represent majors from all four of the College’s divisions, will communicate with the elementary students via satellite on topic such as wetland and water quality, climate change, green building, and Maori culture (native people of New Zealand). The webcasts will take place Jan. 6, 11, 13, and 14, and the Lafayette students will document the entire trip through online journals, interactive student project blogs, videos, and photos.

The students’ mentoring experiences began earlier this month at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Students in the course joined the Martinsburg students and students from several Easton middle schools in an exercise building and operating underwater robots. With the assistance of a $15,000 grant from the SeaPerch remote operated vehicle program, the younger students learned about hydrodynamics and the college students learned how to relate complex ideas in a simple way. Angela Moran, professor of mechanical engineer at the academy, was instrumental in organizing the trip.

Taught by Arthur Kney, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and David Husic, John D. and Frances H. Larkin Professor of Chemistry, the Envisioning Environmental Science course has a number of goals. The Lafayette students will develop an understanding of the roles that stewardship and education play in environmental sustainability and the importance mentoring skills and civic engagement play in communicating these issues to others. The course, which is now in its third year, also will help to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics in the lower grade levels and hopefully inspire young students to enter the technology fields.

In New Zealand, the students will visit the Waitomo (Glowworm) Caves; spend two days on a Marae (sacred place) where they will explore the Maori culture; visit the Travis Wetlands and wastewater treatment plant in Christchurch; swim with Hector’s Dolphins (the world’s smallest dolphin) at Akaroa, a town that sits at the edge of a harbor created by a crater of an extinct volcano; take a hike on Fox Glacier; and go on a safari by way of a jet boat on the Dart River.

Students in the course include Alec Bernstein ’12, Andrew Casey ’11, Kristie Cavanagh ’11, Andrew Citron ’11, Alicia Clark ’11, Jonathan Cohn ’12, Katie Friedman ’11, Stephanie Galer ’11, James Hilbert ’11, Bradley Julian ’10, Mosi London ’10, Adrienne Marcellus ’10, Rebecca Martini ’12, Lauren Marzocca ’12, Max Minckler ’12, Ross Moretti ’12, Ciara O’Sullivan ’12, Elizabeth Parisi ’12, Elliot Rozen ’11, Tory Santagata ’11, Ashley Seibert ’11, and Kathleen Starkweather ’11.

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