University of Vermont

Office of Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning

For Students and Community Organizations, NR 206 Reaches Far Beyond the Classroom

By Elise Schadler

One afternoon last semester I was running with my dog on the trail that winds along the Winooski River at the Intervale and, as a frequent user, noticed that some restoration work had been done.  Soon enough, I approached a sign on a tree that provided information on the importance of healthy riparian buffers, the negative impacts of invasive plants, and the Japanese knotweed removal project that had been designed and implemented by Rubenstein School students in NR 206: Environmental Problem-solving and Impact Assessment.   I smiled, continued down the trail, and thought about how many RSENR seniors have worked with the Intervale Conservation Nursery over the years as their service-learning project for the class.

Seth Gillim, the nursery’s assistant manager, says that as with any non-profit, “there are a lot of things we’d like to do but simply aren’t feasible because the day-to-day operations keep us so busy.  The partnership between the Intervale Conservation Nursery and NR 206 is invaluable because it expands the focus of our work and helps support our mission of protecting and restoring Vermont’s waterways.”

The students’ work with the Intervale Conservation Nursery is just one example of a semester-long, self-selected NR 206 capstone project, in which all seniors in the class engage.  Throughout the 2012-2013 academic year, the 181 RSENR seniors in NR 206 will have cumulatively been involved in 58 distinct projects through partnerships with 41 different organizations.  Many community partner organizations, including EarthWalk Vermont, Crow’s Path Field School, Shelburne Farms, the Sustainability Academy, Friends of Burlington Gardens, and the Winooski River Parks District regularly partner with – and in some cases depend on – NR 206 students. Continue Reading...