This course and service-learning program will pair UVM students as enviro-mentors and “bird buddies” with children at Flynn Elementary School. By creating an after-school birding and nature study club for fourth and fifth graders, UVM students will lay the foundation for a university pipeline program; many of Flynn’s students will become first-generation college students. Our class will cooperate with staff at Flynn Elementary School on Burlington’s New North End to provide this programming. Flynn Elementary has the largest after-school program in the Burlington school district with students from 33 different countries. The school is making herculean efforts to meet student needs by providing after-school programming and by emphasizing the sciences. Surrounded by woods and beautiful parks and gardens, this elementary school is just a five-minute walk from Lake Champlain. Based on the theoretical framework of environmental justice—that the environment is where we live, work and play—our class will help Flynn students to connect to their immediate environment and to improve it. In addition to Tuesday-Thursday indoor/outdoor lectures at UVM on birding, pedagogy, local justice issues in education, sustainability and nature study, the class will meet every Wednesday afternoon from 2-5:30pm at Flynn Elementary to work outside and inside with the children. No prior birding experience is necessary (experience working with children would be extremely helpful). Students will learn how to identify Vermont’s most common birds by sight and sound, then they will teach that skill to their Flynn “bird buddies” or "co-explorers." We will spend every Wednesday afternoon together exploring the neighborhood surrounding Flynn to learn what the parks, woods, lake, and all the wild creatures have to teach us, and what we all have to teach each other.
Social Science (SS)
Minimum junior standing, instructor permission required