Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.64
Liaison Rachael Wein
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Smith College
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Emma Kerr
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Campus Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that is one week or more in length?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused immersive program(s) offered by the institution, including how each program addresses the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability:

Coral Reef Ed-Ventures is an innovative, cooperative educational venture between Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. This school-based project began in 2000 as an effort to facilitate community awareness of reef ecology and to support and encourage reef preservation.

The Meso-American Barrier Reef lies off the coasts of southern Mexico, Belize, and Honduras. The reef extends for 625 miles form north to south, from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula to the islands of the Gulf of Honduras. The reef is second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Off the northeast coast of Belize, Ambergris Caye’s close proximity to the reef allows this small island to boast the title of Belize’s premier vacation destination. Hol Chan was Belize’s first marine reserve, and its mission is to monitor the health of the reef for sustainable fisheries and environmental and economic stability. The island’s economic and ecologic dependence on the reef necessitates a local understanding of the reef’s central role in everyday life.

An interdisciplinary team of Smith College undergraduate students serve as the teachers for the program. During the program, children explore reef ecology through field trips to the beach and reef, conduct in-class experiments, and participate in creative activities with arts and crafts projects, stories, and games. With strong collaborative support from Hol Chan Marine Reserve’s education coordinator and a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer at Hol Chan, the program is able to offer meaningful small group discussions on issues ranging from environmental ethics to the pros and cons of mangrove destruction. Guest speakers whose livelihoods depend on the reef, ranging from tour guides to dive masters to environmental volunteers, emphasize the importance of the reef as a critical resource to everyday life. By the end of the program, the children are able to demonstrate significant knowledge of the coral reef environment by identifying reef organisms, discussing adaptations and symbiotic relationships, and understanding threats facing the reef. The program concludes with a graduation ceremony, during which the school children perform skits using their learned knowledge of the coral reef and receive “Coral Reef Expert” cards.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.