2019 – Present
Environmental Education engages with students in the Chicago Public School system and spreads knowledge about various topics related to the environment, our relationship with it, and sustainability as a whole. The goal is to enlighten students about ways that they can interact with and help our planet.
Our project group recognizes the importance of turning awareness into pro-environmental behavior. Thus, we also aim to provide students with the tools and resources to more easily engage them in sustainable living and to help them become environmental advocates.
We partner with public and charter schools (K-12) through the Neighborhood Schools Program and teach mini-lectures on climate change, sustainability, food security, natural gardening, and permaculture complemented by hands-on activities (e.g., poster-making, indoor and outdoor gardening, blind-taste tests).
This year, we are teaching tailored lessons to the following schools:
Gary Comer Youth Center
UChicago Lab School
Project group leader Defne leads an interactive soil activity (2019)
Students at Ray Elementary School participated in a bean sprout growing activity. The students measured the plants' growth over time (image left), and they planted their sprouts in the school's garden along with other vegetables.
Environmental Education also led water testing activities, where students tested the pH and other chemical properties of various water bodies in Hyde Park.
Expanding our Role
In Autumn Quarter 2022, we started developing a local article writing campaign focusing on environmental issues facing Chicago and the greater community. We aim to start the writing campaign in the winter.
Also, we started weekly gardening at the UChicago Charter School.
In December 2021, we had the opportunity to present our work to UChicago President Alivisatos at the inaugural Sustainability Town Hall.
Project Group Leaders Defne and Ally present Environmental Education's poster to President Alivisatos.
Environmental Education members pose with their poster at the Sustainability Town Hall Poster Fair.
A student's work during in-person instruction (2019)
Environmental Education lead Garden Club virtually in 2020-2021 and in-person 2022-2023 where meetings focused on a variety of sustainable topics:
global impact of food production,
sustainable innovations and technologies