Environmental Education: Healthy Ecosystems

This covers project ideas that are aimed at securing the future through the preservation of natural resources and the diversity of life that it supports (nature conservation and biodiversity). This priority area can include, but is not limited to, projects related to the protection of land, water, and biodiversity.

To inspire your thoughts, see examples of projects on health ecosystems:

1.    Egg Harbor Township High School,

Students at the Egg Harbor Township High School, started a pond project with aim of protecting a Pond Ecosystem by installing a Perimeter Garden. This was in recognition that the school property was often impacted by flooding.  In 2016, the school was affected by floods and the students noticed that cold water from rainwater runoff, would run into the pond, which is part of the school’s garden.  They monitored dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrogen and pH levels in the pond, and a build-up of nutrients was found. Through the student’s investigation it was determined that rainwater runoff from the road and near fields were contributing to these increased nutrient levels at the pond

Students also studied coastline changes and compared coastal erosion to the shore line changes they noticed in the pond. In this regard, the students protected the pond ecosystem because it was home to the bullfrogs that they loved to watch. Students identified and drew a map of the areas on school property that experienced flooding during bad weather events.

Students then later decided to install plants around the edge of the pond, either in the garden or on the perimeter of the garden. Plants were selected for their ability to absorb water and provide native habitat; seeds were planted. As the plants grew and matured in the seasons to come, the students continued to test the pond’s water quality and protected the frog inhabitants.

2.    County Vo-Tech High School: Old Bridge, NJ and Delaware Township School: Sergeantsville, NJ

“Houses for Hawks—Providing Nesting Boxes for American Kestrel” was funded by a State Wildlife Grant. The Endangered Species and Nongame Species Program (ESNS) have maintained a nest box program since 2006; they have partnered with various schools and scouting troops to assemble over 250 nesting boxes. Opdyke Lumber in Frenchtown, NJ donated the wood, and the boxes are maintained by ENSP staff and trained volunteers. The efforts are to keep this once common native species from declining any further and to restore its habitat

https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/kestrel_project_summary06-12.pdf

3   San Lorenzo High School’s garden San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo High School’s one-acre native plant garden was created by students from the former swimming pool, which was bulldozed and filled with rubble.  Now is looking like a “natural garden that fell out of the sky,” the native forest, which is tended by the Druid Environmental Club and the Environmental Leadership.  The project has enabled the students to teach the fourth grade students from nearby schools on how Native Americans used native plants. The high scholars, are regarded as rock stars by the younger students because of this activity.  The Students has propagated more than eighty species of native plants in their productive nursery. The Proceeds from the plant sale support the school’s environmental program. For more information: https://www.bringingbackthenatives.net/httpwww-bringingbackthenatives-netsan-lorenzo-high-school%E2%80%99s-garden-and-native-plant-nursery

4   Central High School, Beach Cleanups

Thirty 10th and 12th grade students in Central High school’s environmental club volunteered in cleaning   up for the beaches and roadside at the ST Croix. The students volunteering project started in 2006. The students took proactive role and become community environmental   leaders. The students  organize a series of clean ups every Saturday and they termed it as “Service Saturday”. During the “service Saturday” clean ups they conducted educational activities in collaboration with other school aged students. The students also set up trash bins at the Frederiksted’s beach and other public areas. The students coordinated with Frederiksted town and arranged for trash collection and removal. The students also used the trash bins to demonstrate appropriate waste handling practices in the community. The student considered the project very beneficial since it enabled them to demonstrate leadership skills and also it improved their public speaking skills and confidence.

5   Saving the oceans on plastic bag at a time

Schools in Delaware have started a project in collaboration with an NGO, Eco plastic products of Delaware with an aim of saving the oceans.  The student in different schools are collecting   bottle caps and in return, the NGO provides them with park benches. Schools like Queens Ann county, collected 500 pound of bottle caps and the NGO made the, park benches and this was similar to Clayton Elementary school.  Smyrna Middle school also collected 3000 pounds of Bottle caps and the NGO made them 6 park benches from the bottle caps they gave the NGO.  The community and students consider this initiative crucial since it enabled them to protect the marine ecosystem by recycling plastics that might end up in the oceans if not properly handled. For more Information: https://www.ecoplasticproducts.org/projects

Please note that the projects exemplified here are not to be duplicated in your submission, they are only to inspire your thoughts. Projects that will be selected for the programme must be innovative and address a challenge or need in your context.

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