In the Middle of Things

When I started this class I was really excited about two things, one is that I would get to expand on my teaching strategies and second is that it would be nothing like Geography 12o that I suffered through last semester. I have learned that while I am getting a better grasp on how to teach environmental science but the stuff that I learned from geography 120 plays a much larger role in my understanding of the class than I realized it would.

On my first entry I talked about my hometown and Brandon commented wondering what the trees on the side of the highway were there for. It took me a really long time, actually it took me until I went back to Craik this weekend to figure out what trees he was talking about. I grade 4 or 5 my town started this project called the eco village. One of the first things they did with this project is they planted over 100 trees in an empty field, these trees are specially designed to grow for 25 years than are meant to be chopped down and used for paper, but once we chop them down than we plant new ones in their place. The reason it took me so long to figure out what trees he was referring to was not because I was unaware of them but because as a person from the town I know how much of a fail this project was. Yes we have lots of trees that are growing, but originally we had five fields, and every five years we would plant 100+ more trees, and keep this pattern going so that in the time it took to grow the trees to their maximum other trees would be in different stages. However, after the first three years some major flaws were discovered, the trees started so small that weeds could kill them, so we would need people to weed the field every week. The towns solution to this is have the elementary students go out in the afternoon every Monday and weed for 1.5 hours. The parents were outraged by this, it did not matter what the weather was like in the spring, the teachers would make us go out there, and we would lose a lot of time in the classroom. This caused all classes to be really behind, and it was especially hard to want to want students weeding when the people of the community that thought this was a great idea would not come out and help. Another major problem is that the trees attracted wildlife, a lot of wildlife, deer and moose especially. This increased car accidents, in the fourth year of having the trees, when they finally were able to provide shelter for animals there was over thirty animal related car accidents on the number 11 highway. These animals did not like staying in the trees and soon we had large animals roaming the streets of Craik. When Brandon mentioned these trees and I actually figured out what he was talking about I was actually upset, not at Brandon but at how much frustration the trees have caused my town. It reminded me of how something with good intentions has many impacts that are not good. I wonder about how many times people came of with a new idea and thought about how great it would be for all people but now we are realizing that it is creating more problems than solutions, for examples plastics or synthetic material that makes our lives easier short term but not long term.

Some of the things that come up in class are topics that I am not sure about, when I was reading about leverage points, something I kept wondering about was, but do these actually work. I don’t believe my question was ever really answered, I don’t even know if there is an answer to this question. How do you know if they work, it isn’t something you would see instantaneously, and it would be hard to prove that a lot of change has taken place because when you look for change over a long period of  time, something will have changed but it is hard to know how much has really changed and if it changed in the way it was originally intended. This is something that I am accepting, the things I do now make result in a change but it is unlikely to be a change I will witness.

Our last assignment was about reflecting on eco literacy, this was something that I found challenging because there is noway to rate how eco literate you are. Every person has a different understanding of what it means to be eco literate and those differences are what makes it difficult to come up with a solution to environmental issues. Something that I was began to realize is that there is no clear solution to any environmental problem because there is no one cause.

I have started to gain a better understanding of what it means to be Eco Literate, as well as a better understanding of how to teach environmental science but I have not fully figured out how I want to go about making my students eco literate. I know that young students want to help, it is just figuring out a way for them to help without them feeling overwhelmed or defeated when they do not see results.

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