The Finger Lakes Project, a sustainability curriculum development workshop hosted by the Wells Center for Sustainability and the Environment, offered an opportunity for educators from around the region to plan and discuss the ways that their courses could promote ecological education.
This year, participants had the opportunity to apply for minigrants as a reward for successfully creating sustainability curricula that incorporated the workshop content. The Center awarded 4 applicants minigrant funds earlier this month at a total of $3,000. The recipients and an overview of their projects are listed below.
Susan Allen-Gil, Ph.D., Professor, Environmental Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College
Dr. Allen-Gil will incorporate an experiential learning activity for students in Topics in Pollution: Environmental Health and Medicine. In partnership with the Tompkins County Health Department, the class will analyze drinking water from wells around Cayuga Lake to determine if toxins from Harmful Algal Blooms are affecting water quality. They’ll also map lead pipes delivering drinking water to schools and other locations and develop materials for renters and homeowners on how to avoid lead in drinking water.
Christine Bezotte, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biology, Elmira College
Dr. Bezotte’s Microbiology course will incorporate a module on sustainable agriculture, evaluating soils at a local “modern production” farm and a farm using sustainable practices. Students will interview the farmers, compare soil analyses, and predict farming methodologies.
She will also develop a new Sustainable Agriculture in Italy course, with two weeks on campus and three weeks in Italy. Students will analyze issues related to modern food culture—such as industrial versus small farm to table production, foods marketing and cultural and economic effects—and compare sustainable farm practices in Italy and the USA.
Karleen West, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Political Science and International Relations, SUNY Geneseo
SuAnn Yang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology, SUNY Geneseo
The professors co-developed Food Sustainability across Disciplines, a free-standing sustainability curriculum module on sustainable food systems, to use in the 2017-2018 academic year: Principles of Ecology in both the fall and spring semesters, and Global Environmental Politics in the spring. Learning objectives include integrating economic, social, and environmental perspectives; examining political regulations related to food systems; and exploring ethical and philosophical positions that apply to food.
The Center for Sustainability and the Environment received additional funding from the Jephson Educational Trust, which underwrote the Finger Lakes Project workshop in 2017 and provided funding for the minigrant awards. This funding will support next year’s workshop, during which Director Marian Brown plans to invite this year’s minigrant award recipients to present on their curriculum development and delivery.