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2004-05 NSF/ESF Science Corps Undergraduate Fellows
The ESF Science Corps

The Environmental Science Summer Program Expands

The second year of the summer Environmental Science Camp Program has expanded to six weeks. After such a successful summer experience, our three partnering urban community agencies requested to continue the success through their after-school programs.

The ESF Science Corps’ Environmental Science Camp Program blends inquiry-based learning techniques with basic scientific principles. The ESF Science Corps, comprised of four SUNY ESF undergraduates, as well as the summer and after school program, participants reflect the wonderful Image of streamdiversity of an urban population who together explored the many areas of the environment, ranging from biology, ecology to chemistry and paper science and engineering. The ESF Science Corps used Elmwood Park as the main teaching tool for many of the activities where participants gained an understanding of the invaluable resources their city parks can be. In addition, students spent one day at SUNY ESF’s urban campus exploring the many areas of science offered at SUNY ESF. The After-School Environmental Science Program activities took place in the city neighborhoods and the facilities of the three partnering community agencies. The science inquiry-based activities reinforced the idea science and the environment exists in the participants’ own backyards.

Kids from Science CorpsThe Summer Environmental Science Program

The ESF Science Corps’ summer Environmental Science Camp Program expanded to six weeks in partnership with J. T. Roberts School, Syracuse City School District, Syracuse City Parks and Recreation Services, Girls Inc., and the Spanish Action League.

kids working hard in Science CorpsThe two continuing partners: The J T. Roberts School (K-8) held two one week summer Environmental Science Camp Programs for 35 7th and 8th grade students. The Syracuse City Parks and Recreation Services expanded to a full week summer Environmental Science Camp open to all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in the city. Twenty 6th, 7th and 8th grade students took advantage of the program.

kids looking at a stuffed tigerGirls Inc. and the Spanish Action League are the two new urban community agency partners who offered the summer Environmental Science Camp Program. Girls Inc held a one week Environmental Science Camp Program for 16 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls using water as the central theme. The Spanish Action League held two, one week summer Environmental Science Camp Programs. The first week was for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students with activities at a third location, Onondaga Park. The second week was for 9th, 10th and 11th grade students and to accommodate their varied schedules, the Environmental Science Camp Program was held in late afternoon with activities at two additional locations, Onondaga Park and Clark Reservation.

The ESF Science Corps and the camp participants explored the following themes through educational games and inquiry based leaning activities:

  • kids discussing chemistry The Carbon Cycle
  • Population Dynamics
  • Water Ecology
  • Chemistry and Papermaking
  • Energy conservation
  • Plant and Tree identification

The partnerships continued with After School Environmental Science Programs.

With the success of the summer Environmental Science Camp Program both Girls Inc. and the Spanish Action League asked SUNY ESF and the ESF Science Corps undergraduates to continue to build on the excellent kids working in labenvironmental science foundation through their after school program initiatives. It didn’t take long for word to spread. Boys and Girls Club became the third community agency to join the After School Environmental Science Program. The ESF Science Corps undergraduates developed new environmental science activities using the surrounding neighborhoods including indoor activities as winter approached. They taught 4th to 8th grade students one afternoon a week from September to May at each of the three community agencies.

The summer Environmental Science Camp Program and the After School Environmental Science Programs were such a huge success, all four of our community partners are planning for next year.

Meet our Undergraduate Fellows

1st row Sarah, Angela, Emily Bolton Blatt, Angela Tringal 2nd row Neerad students from Science Corps Undergraduates

1st row Sarah, Angela, Emily Bolton Blatt, Angela Tringali
2nd row Neerad

Emily Bolton-Blatt
My name is Emily Bolton-Blatt. I was born and raised in New York City. I am 21 years old and a senior majoring in Environmental Forestry and Biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. My career goals are to work within cities and its communities to help improve the quality of life through improving the environment within the city. While reaching out to the coommunities’ children, I hope to raise their awareness of the natural environment that surrounds them. Working this summer with the NSF/ESF grant and the various organizations around the city of Syracuse has been an excellent and extremely fulfilling experience for me. I have worked with kids before, from ages 3-17, as I was a supervisor for an after-school program for underprivileged children. The knowledge ESF provides about our natural environment is truly resourceful, and to have a program that shares this knowledge with middle school and high school students is an exceptional experience for the children, as well as the teaching fellows from ESF. The summer of 2004 was wonderful. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the NSF/ESF grant, and even more grateful to be graduating next year from this great and profound university. Thanks ESF!

Sarah Walsh
I grew up in Lisbon, N.Y. and am currently a Junior at SUNY ESF as an EFB major. Growing up in the country I’ve been lucky enough to have always been exposed to nature. It’s always been a great interest of mine that has been encouraged by my family’s enthusiasm for nature. In going to ESF I’ve had great opportunities, for example, I was able to participate in research on multiple projects through ESF’s TIBS property. Here I was able to experience research methods first hand. This experience led me then to the NSF Science Corps where my goal was to bring research into the classroom. I’ve had a great time sharing my love for the environment with middle school students and getting them acquainted with ESF. Through the NSF Grant we have had the opportunity to reach out to the students who may have never experienced nature and peak their interest in the environment, science, and ESF. It’s been a great experience.

Neerad Taru
I am a senior chemistry major from Baltimore, Maryland. Growing up in an inner-city environment I never really had the opportunity to learn about different aspects of nature, and more importantly how its affects the environment. Topics of the environment were never really introduced to me until I came to school at SUNY ESF, where he discovered a whole new world of information that seemed to be hidden due to the constant developments of the city.

I see the NSF Undergraduate Fellowship as an opportunity to teach inner city youth lessons about the environment that they may have also been deprived of due to the constant developments in their city. I believe a great thing in life is when you learn something new, but an even more magnificent aspect of life is the ability to help someone else learn something new. This is why my main goal for the NSF Undergraduate Fellowship was to have the students learn as much as possible, but most of all enjoy learning it, so that they couldn’t wait to teach someone else what they just learned. I remember a time when the students came to SUNY ESF’s campus, and I helped them perform a chemistry experiment turning a penny into a brass or bronze alloy. Upon the end of this experiment, a little girl said, “I’m going to tell my whole family that I made a gold penny.” Immediately I began to correct her as only a teacher would, and said, “Is that really gold?” Then the little girl just smiled and said “Well since my penny was made after 1983, it’s really brass because of the mixture of copper and zinc, but I think gold sounds a lot better.” At that point, just as eloquent as she had given the right answer, she walked off and began another conversation about the alloy she just created. Teachers live for moments similar to this one, where the student somehow assumes the role of the teacher. The experiences through the ESF Science Corp have allowed me to see that I have an obligation, to teach younger generations of students that are thirsty for knowledge.

Angela Tringali
Hi! My name is Angela and I grew up in Staten Island, NY. Living about a mile from what Staten Islander’s call “The Dump” sparked a recycling fervor in me at a young age. Rescuing turtles trying to cross major streets fueled my interests in urban environments and wildlife. I enrolled at ESF hoping to find a way to reconcile the conflicting habitat needs of humans and wildlife.

I am currently a Junior in ESF’s Environmental and Forest Biology program. My first two years here at ESF have opened up new worlds to me. As my interests broaden, I have a more and more difficult time choosing a main focus of study. With all of the amazing things our Earth has to offer, how can I pick just one thing to explore? The teaching experience I have gained through the ESF Science Corps opened my eyes to another career option; that of teaching. I hope that by teaching I can help children discover their interests while continuing to expand my own.


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