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Carmel Public Lands Protection: Students Volunteer

Carmel Public Lands Protection: Students Volunteer

Students volunteer to help protect public lands in Carmel

National Public Lands DayCarmel High School offered environmental groups the chance to draw attention their volunteer work.

CHS offers many opportunities for students to be involved in ecological maintenance and public lands. Senior Lourdes Bengero and Fran Rushing, a former AP Environmental Science teacher said that the global environment crisis is making it more important to teach sustainable living and how humans impact the environment.

They stated that this is especially true in the curriculum and the general school life of students who are further educated and have the knowledge and opportunities to make a difference at school.

Rushing said that she finds ways to convey this message in her classes.

Carey Anderson, Green Action Club sponsor and CCS Green Team Representative, hangs a poster of the club on her wall. Anderson stated that she helps students raise awareness about environmental issues. Photo by Arya Pionnamaneni

We sort of add ecology information to it and talk about how we have impacted the environment in positive and negative ways, she said.

She stated that the AP Environmental Science class was one of many options available to students who want to be more environmentally-aware and consider their impact on the environment.

Rushing suggested that students can also learn about the environment by joining the newly established Environmental Management Club. Rushing said that the club, which has yet not met, will be focusing on environmental improvement initiatives as well as addressing problems in the public lands surrounding Carmel through the creation of a student volunteer base.

Rushing said that this class encouraged many of her students, including Rushing, to pursue environmental management initiatives outside school.

The National Environmental Education Foundation created the National Public Lands Day. According to the foundation’s data, a large percentage of caring for public lands comes from the thousands who volunteer their time.

Students at Carmel High School have taken responsibility for public lands and formed the Green Action Club. There are many aspects to the club that work together. For example, the education committee conducts projects with elementary students to teach them about their role within the environment.

Illustration by Siri Birisetty

Bengero is the chairperson of the GAC’s education committee. He said, “The club helps people pursue their passions. And when you’re passionate about something, you put a lot into it and it produces a really great outcome.” Club members claim that this initiative allows them to succeed at the high school level.

Bengero explained that she was focusing her attention on education and the positive effects of the positive education club aims to provide.[it has]It really helped me to branch out and meet new people. Last year, I was a volunteer for Helping Ninjas CEO Lindsey Berry. I loved the way the organization worked alongside children.

Carmel Clay Schools Green Team representative Carey Anderson is the GAC Sponsor. She said, “I attend Central Office meetings and we all get together for discussions about great ways that more people can gain awareness.”

Anderson stated that she works closely with students in the GAC to help them raise their voices to be heard at community level.

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Anderson stated that the club is student-run. We have people who are passionate about their local area. Over 60 people signed up. We want each of those people telling us what made them sign up, because I feel that all of them have something valuable to say and that they care so much for the environment.

Illustration by Archit Kalra

Students have another option for volunteering: they can use social media to help with club projects.

Cadence Proctor is a senior GAC social media coordinator. He says that using social media for activism opens up doors to more involved projects in the community.

Proctor stated that social media is very welcoming for new students who may already use it on a regular base. Proctor said that working with the GAC on social media initiatives helps to divert social media activity in positive ways.

Bengero stated that volunteering is best done early.

This article was originally published by the Carmel High School HiLite.

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