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2005-06 NSF/ESF Science Corps Undergraduate Fellows
The ESF Science Corps

Image of a stream The Environmental Science Summer Program Expands

The Environmental Science Camp Program enters its third year and continues to expand with seven week-long camps and continues the successful After-School Program in three urban community agencies.

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 diversity 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, participants gained an understanding of the invaluable resources their city parks can be.

In addition, all Environment Science Camp, students spent one day at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s urban campus exploring the many areas of science offered at SUNY-ESF. The activities for the After School Environmental Science took place in the Syracuse neighborhoods and the facilities of the three partnering community agencies. The science inquiry-based activities reinforced the idea that science and the environment exists in the participants’ own backyards.

Image of a dragonfly
Image of a beetle
Image of a purple flower
Image of a toad

The Summer Environmental Science Program

The ESF Science Corps’ summer Environmental Science Camp Program expanded to seven weeks in partnership with J. T. Roberts School, Syracuse City School District, Syracuse City Parks and Recreation Services, Girls Inc., the Spanish Action League, and the newest partner for this summer The Boys and Girls Club of Syracuse.

The J T. Roberts School (K-8) held two one week summer Environmental Science Camps for 40, 7th and 8th grade students. The Syracuse City Parks and Recreation Services continued with a week long Environmental Science Camp open to all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in the city with 24 participates.

Girls Inc held a one week environmental science summer camp for 15, 7th and 8th grade students. The Spanish Action League held two one week camps for 16 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. The Boys and Girls Club our newest urban community agency partner, offered their first-week long summer Environmental Science Camp following the success of their after-school program.

What did Students do?

Chemistry is not only laboratories and test tubes, but part of our everyday life.

Using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream

Kids making ice cream using liquid nitrogen to freeze it
Liquid nitrogen freezes the cream.

kids eating ice cream
Mmmmmmm good ice cream!

Creating paper from wood pulp—a renewable resource

kids with wood pulp
First the pulp
child removing water from the pulp
Removing the water from the pulp
Image of the paper
The finished paper

Water water everywhere!

Kids looking in the stream for invertebrates
Looking for micro invertebrate in the stream indicates water quality. Learning field ethics, putting rocks back where you found it to protect the creatures living under it.

Upstream, downstream and watersheds—What effect does it have on us?

Connected drawings by the kids of the river
Each student was given a section of river and told to develop the banks any way they wanted. Farming, industry, housing developments are several examples students drew. Then all the pictures were connected to form a river.

kids discussing the effects of development on the river
The ESF Science Corps and students discussed the pros, cons and effects of all the development along the banks.

Students also explored the following themes through educational games and activities:

  • The Carbon Cycle
  • Population Dynamics
  • Energy Conservation
  • Plant and Tree Identification

The partnerships continue with After School Environmental Science Programs.

With the success of the summer Environmental Science Camps, the ESF Science Corps undergraduates, with the community agency partners, continue to build on the excellent environmental science foundation through their after school program initiatives. Plans are currently underway by the ESF Science Corps undergraduates to develop new environmental science activities using the surrounding neighborhoods including indoor activities as winter approaches. They will teach 4th through 8th grade students one afternoon a week from September to May at each of the three community agencies.

Meet the ESF Science Corps Undergraduate Fellows

Liz Tully, Laura Shappell, Tom Goblet, Sarah Seib - ESF Science Corps Undergraduates
Liz Tully, Laura Shappell, Tom Goblet, Sarah Seib

Tom Goblet
I am a junior majoring in Environmental and Forest Biology at ESF and doing a dual program in Secondary Science Education at Syracuse University. I grew up in Corning, New York and always had a passion for science, knowing that I would someday major in biology. When I came to ESF I decided that I wanted to teach what I had always had a passion for. So, here I am. This is my first year working with the Science Corps.When I heard about this program, I figured that it was the perfect opportunity for me to utilize all of the information I’ve learned so far in my majors and at the same time, give me valuable experience working in the field I intend to enter. So far, I have truly enjoyed it and am looking forward to working with the students throughout the rest of the summer and into the next school year. Through being a part of this program, I’m hoping that I will get some insite into what my future will hold for me when I enter my profession as a teacher, as well as gain some valuable knowledge to utilize in the classroom. Essentially I am considering this a learning experience for not only the students involved, but for myself as well.

Outside of school and the science corps, I work at both the Varsity Pizza Shop and at Syracuse University as a Resident Advisor. In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports, basketball and snowboarding in particular, listening to music, and hanging out with my friends.

Sarah Seib
Sarah Seib is a native of Syracuse. A 2003 graduate of George W Fowler High School, Sarah was an ESF in the High School student and completed the Gobla Environment course through the program. She is now in her junior year of college, where she studies Natural History and Interpretation. When she graduates from ESF she plans on working with education programs in zoos, and possibly return to school to become an American Sign Language interpreter. Aside from school and working with the ESF Science Corps, Sarah also enjoys working at Syracuse University's student-run radio station.

Laura Shappell
As a senior at SUNY-ESF, majoring in Environmental Biology, I’ve always been fascinated by studying the environment. I think it all started when I was six years old and attended Cayuga Nature Center (CNC) summer day camp programs in my hometown of Ithaca, New York. Over the years, through CNC and backpacking along the Finger Lakes Trail, I gained a deep appreciation for the environment and the impact humans have on it. Through these experiences, I gained a profound respect for the environment as a whole and how all of its aspects are interconnected. In high school I developed an interest in biology, specifically the environment.

Following graduation from Ithaca High School, during the summer of 2002, I served on a volunteer trail crew with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), a national conservation organization. Our SCA crew lived primitively in Merck Forest, Vermont, building and repairing trails, and constructing an extensive pedestrian bridge. All of our tasks were performed with hand tools – and plenty of muscle and sweat. My SCA experience was just one of several in which I learned that some of the best things in life don’t come easily. The benefits are much more rewarding than the struggle.

I’ve tried to make good use of my spring breaks while an undergraduate student at SUNY-ESF. Freshman year, I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity on a crew that constructed 10 houses in a week in Columbus, Georgia. Last spring, I traveled to the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico, where we assisted in research at the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site. During the academic year and summers, I’ve worked on the SUNY-ESF campus in the Outreach office and in research labs. I also have served as a volunteer at the MLK Charter School in downtown Syracuse.

I learned appreciation and respect for nature though experiencing it and gaining knowledge about it. I hope to inspire others to feel the same through a career in teaching. That is why I’m so enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve as an Undergraduate Fellow this year. Teachers have an incredible opportunity to reach out and bring students’ interests to the surface. I plan to pursue advanced degrees in education and in wetland ecology. Eventually, my goal is to work through a college in a high school with a program similar to the ESF in the High School.

In my spare time, I pursue such interests as Pilates, kickboxing and art. Besides learning about the environment, my other great passion is dance. I’ve experienced most all forms of dance in the past 11 years – from ballet to belly dancing, and everything in between. In high school, I was a member of a competition dance team, and I’ve continued performing with the DanceWorks organization at Syracuse University. Dance has taught me many things: the importance of working with others; the need for patience and compromise; and the challenge to go beyond my comfort zone and to work a little bit harder than I think I can. In the end, all of the rewards have proven that there is no way around hard work.

Elizabeth Tully
Liz Tully is a senior at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry where she is a Conservation Biology major. She plans to continue on to grad school in an ecological anthropology program with applications in tropical ecology.

Liz's involvement on the ESF campus includes: the Green Campus Initiative, the Undergraduate Student Association, Motivating People for Peace, and Students for Social Awareness. Liz has been involved and interested in these student and community groups because they involve progressive change, community building, and education. Part of the reason why Liz is so actively involved in these organizations is shared by her reasons for wanting to work as an NSF Fellow doing environmental education programs with children. Education, awareness, community development, and action all play a part in her campus activities and in the NSF Fellowship. Her interest in environmental education began as early as age 14 when she attended her first county conservation leadership schools as a student. Liz went on to another county school and the PA state conservation leadership school- both at which she was hired back for the next three summers as an instructor for 15-18 year olds. Most of Liz's environmental education education experience has been with high school students. The NSF Fellowship was the first opportunity Liz had to work with the 10-13 year old age group.

Outside of academic life, Liz enjoys all kinds of outdoor recreation from kayaking and canoeing to camping and outdoor rockclimbing. She is a runner, loves to garden, cook new vegetarian and vegan dishes, and contra dance, etc.


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