Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Downtown HS's culminating projects pass on the story of environmental justice to elementary school students!

Downtown High School's WALC (Wilderness, Arts, and Literacy Collaborative) had been partnering with LEJ's Heron's Head Park program all semester long, returning multiple times for hands-on service learning field trips. From the very beginning of the semester, the high school students - many of which didn't succeed in the traditional school system yet thrive in WALC's more relevant, interactive approaches to learning - knew that their final projects would include working with little kids. But were they ready?

At the beginning of the semester, the WALC students met their audience: elementary school students. They read to them children's books to see what they would be interested in. Throughout the semester, the WALC students layered their skills - drawing nature images, learning scientific concepts, digging deeper into environmental and cultural ethics - in order to create their own children's books and activities for the same elementary school students. The results? An amazing day of exploration for the little ones and the teens in which WALC students passed on their own stories of environmental justice. LEJ staff sat back and watched the transformation of all the students unfold at the EcoCenter and Heron's Head Park.

Check out pictures of the various stations that the WALC students set up. The elementary school students divided up into manageable groups and rotated through each station.

Here come the little ones!

One of the stations was habitat restoration in the transition zone next to the wetlands.

In another station, WALC students read the books that they wrote and
drew to elementary students on the EcoCenter's back patio.

At this station at the "Stumping Grounds" in the park, WALC students
used maps to explain Bayview Hunter's Point's history of environmental
pollution  and injustice... as well as its residents' resiliency to demand change.

More opportunities for reading indoors in the cozy EcoCenter.

Much appreciations and props to lead teacher, Catherine Salvin, and lead LEJ staff member, Raynelle Rino, for making the partnership happen!