Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.76
Liaison Mark Youndt
Submission Date March 10, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Karen Kellogg
Director of Sustainability
Dean of Faculty's Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Environmental Education Service Learning

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

ESS 305 Environmental Education (with a 4th Service Learning credit)

This four-credit environmental service learning class is an exploration of environmental education in the U.S., as well as the various pedagogical tools, programs, and resources that are available for the global dissemination of environmental education. Students completed at least 30 hours of environmental service learning with community stakeholders (community schools, nonprofit organizations, and nature centers) and over the course of the semester designed and taught original and replicable experiential EE curriculum lessons for stakeholder staff and community members, at:
• Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park/BOCES
• Capitol Roots
• Apple Blossom Bunch
• Saratoga Independent School
• St. Mary’s School
• Saratoga High School
• Schuylerville Elementary School
• Hudson Alternative High School
• Lake Avenue Elementary School
• Ndakinna Native Skills Center
• Hudson Crossing Park
• CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services for homeless teens
• The City of Saratoga Springs
• Camp Skidmore
• Caroline Street Elementary School
• Skidmore College Environmental Studies and Sciences
• Wellesley Community Center (adult EE)
• The Latino Community Advocacy Program (LCAP, a program of the Saratoga County EOC) – Alternatives to toxic cleaning products and cosmetics
• Home School Moms (and students) of Saratoga County
• Greenburg Childcare Center
• Skidmore College Early Childcare Center

EE students examined innovations and philosophies behind experiential and authentic environmental education; sustainability education; research on environmental education (pro-environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors); adventure education; garden-based learning, and place-based learning in community schools, nonprofit organizations, and nature centers delivering environmental education lessons.

Every semester the EE course is offered, students utilize our new Skidmore Community Garden as a teaching and learning space to teach Farm Based Education. Skidmore students utilize Shelburne Farm’s (VT) Fabulous 5 to introduce young students (3-12 yrs. old) to the necessary components that plants need to survive in a garden (sun, space, soil, light, water), and have a food tasting party that incorporates new and exciting fruit and vegetable options. Groups that visited the Skidmore Community Garden for this curriculum included The Apple Blossom Bunch, Malta Montessori School, and the Home School Moms of Saratoga Springs.

Skidmore College’s Environmental Studies and Sciences Program requires that all students complete a year-long community-based research project in Saratoga County. To date, seven Capstone groups (20 students total), have developed year-long EE investigation research projects as a direct result of taking ESS305. One research group that investigated the outcomes of using hydroponics and aquaponics in the formal curriculum, published a peer-reviewed manuscript with two Skidmore College professors, in Applied Environmental Education and Communication (below).

A Case study of indoor garden-based learning with hydroponics and aquaponics: Evaluating pro-environmental knowledge, perception, and behavior change. Applied Environmental Education and Communication. 14(4), 256-265.
Schneller, A.J., Schofield, C., Frank, J., Hollister, E., & Mamuszka, L. (2015)

The six other EE Senior Capstone projects included:

Growing Good Habits: A Garden-Based Approach to Fourth & Fifth Grade Learning
Haley Duncan, Anna-Beth Lawler, and Duke Yun (2013)
Today, children face deprivation from nature, unhealthy eating habits, and limited physical activity. Garden-based learning can address all of these issues, while also enhancing science classes. We developed a 5-week indoor, garden-based, after-school program with fourth and fifth graders from St. Mary's elementary school in Ballston Spa to measure their effectiveness. Successful gardening programs must create allies within the school and ultimately influence in-classroom curriculums.

Breaking In: Educating Prisoners Through Environmental Literacy
Sondra Lipshutz, Kristen Stearns, and Sarah LaBella (2013)
How can the impact of the environmental movement reach underserved communities? Our project involved seeking nontraditional allies in prisoners, working with Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility in Wilton, NY to implement an environmental literacy program for inmates. Literature, film, and interactive activities introduced inmates to topics from climate change to green jobs. We used pre- and post-surveys to evaluate the program and made suggestions for future Skidmore/prison collaboration in the field of environmental studies.

Public Participation in the Saratoga Springs Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program: Community Based Action Research and Educational Recommendations
Jennifer Garvin, Faith Nicholas, and Lauren Schilling (2014)
We examined the current household hazardous waste (HHW) program of Saratoga Springs in the hopes of enhancing participation and expansion. We researched other municipal HHW programs in New York State and surveyed Saratoga Springs residents. Our study led us to the following recommendations: utilize permanent facilities within the community, hold collection days multiple times a year, and provide substantial educational material within public schools and the community.

Environmental Education and Interpretive Trailblazing at the Saratoga Independent School
Katie Cuthbert, Emma Ottenheimer, Kylie Rosabal (2016)
With stakeholders at the Saratoga Independent School, we implemented an afterschool club and constructed an interpretive nature trail on their property. Lessons used in the after school program (for students age 8-11) consciously engaged the pedagogies of place-based education, nearby nature and experiential learning as a measure of environmental knowledge, behavior and values. We planned and constructed the trail, adding interpretive elements such as stations and activity suggestion for teachers at the Saratoga Independent School.

Pitney Meadows Community Farm Summer Curriculum: Action Research on Effective Farm Based Education Curriculums
Sydney Randall, Sarah Hooghuis, Jerry Lerman
Forthcoming in May 2017

Environmental Art and Muralism for Increasing Awareness of Hudson River Ecosystem Restoration: Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavioral Outcomes of a Place-based Environmental Art Curriculum
Julia Adelman and Shannon Post
Forthcoming in May 2017

The midterm examination for this course incorporates advanced writing skills to promote civic engagement, public participation in educational policy decisions, and public education. Students are required to write and submit a 300-word Letter to the Editor for publication in a regional newspaper, as well as a 1000-word formal letter to both their Secretary of Education and Congressperson. Topics in the past have included promotion of the No Child Left Inside Act (HR882), promotion of funding for school gardens and curriculum, expansion of experiential EE in public schools, and healthy school lunch programs. On average 9 students every semester have their Letters to the Editors published (we’ve published over 40 LTEs in total). Appendix A incorporates five of these published LTEs from regional periodicals.

Last but not least, Heliospectra Grow Systems of Sweden allowed our students to highlight our classroom/educational applications of their LED energy saving indoor gardening technology and awarded us with a $5,000 unit for research purposes. A description of the partnership is located here:
LED Grow Lights in the Classroom - Cultivating Hands-On Learning

Appendix A

A Case study of indoor garden based learning with hydroponics and aquaponics: Evaluating pro-environmental knowledge, perception, and behavior change. Applied Environmental Education and Communication. 14(4), 256-265.
Schneller, A.J., Schofield, C., Frank, J., Hollister, E., & Mamuszka, L. (2015)

Use Restore Protect: How Humans Interact with the Land (A three-part curriculum for 4th – 8th Grades visiting Hudson Crossing park)

Environmental Service Learning at Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park (A story about environmental education for Saratoga Life Magazine, April, 2014)

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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