Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CPS High School Students Problem Solve Environmental Issues

130 students from six southeast side CPS high schools came together at the Environmental Protection Agency in downtown Chicago on Friday, February 18, 2011. The students, all participants in the Calumet Is My BackYard project, gathered together with 10 environmental professionals and activitists to practice their 21st century skills: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication.

The environmental professionals presented a real world environmental problem such as invasive species removal, managing volunteers effectively, educating the public about the environment, and addressing the problem of deficient community green space, and then challenged the students to develop a strategy to address the problem.

Students worked together in teams to think critically about the component parts of the problem then used their skills of creativity and collaboration to develop potential strategies.

Environmental professionals from the Environmental Protection Agency, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Shedd Aquarium, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the City of Chicago's Department of the Environment, shared both their career stories and the messy problems they content with on a daily basis.

Here's what students said about the day:

  • Today was exciting. I really enjoyed standing up and presenting my knowledge in front of all the schools participating in this passionate environmental science program.
  • Today was very helpful. I was never aware of how much we can do as students. It opened my mind to ways we can help the community.
  • Today was interesting because I've never had a day this long that had me so engaged in learning about different aspects about the environment. What was most interesting was talking about the fish. I also think that was the most helpful.

Student participants were joining together for the fourth all-school event of the CIMBY program. In addition, they are learning about the environment of the Lake Calumet area in their classrooms and providing important stewardship services at natural sites throughout Chicago's southeast side.

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