Fresno: Edison International Funds Brighter Futures
Students in Dr. Blumenshine's Aquatic Ecology course become familiar with the scope of aquatic ecology and master its basic facts, principles, and concepts through lecture and lab, but enhance their classroom studies through service learning. Assignments encourage students to reflect on the connection between their service-learning participation and their professional endeavors while providing the opportunity to present what they discovered from their activities.
Fourth year Biology major and future high school Biology teacher, Deidre Bayne, has seen first-hand how service learning provides hands on activities that enhance textbook material and would like to see it introduced at the high school level. According to Baine, "service learning is something that you can incorporate into the high school setting which will enable students to learn more and be able to interpret data by the time they reach college."
Students in Aquatic Ecology gain at least 15 hours of real-world experience in their field working alongside professionals from federal and state government, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations. They work with community partners like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), California Fish and Game, California Department of Health Services and Tenaya Middle School on river restoration efforts, fish sampling, water testing, and teaching aquatic ecology modules to schoolchildren.
Baine and her group have been collecting water samples from a remote creek to fulfill their service-learning requisite. For all of them, this is the first time they have engaged in water testing or taken a service-learning course. One common sentiment shared is how their service-learning experience has opened the door to field work unavailable in other courses while also complementing the work they hope to be doing after graduation.
One year after the devastation that came from the massive earthquake off the coast of Sendai, 15 CSU Channel Islands students enrolled in Science and Technology in Japan traveled to Japan to volunteer in the rebuilding efforts during their spring break.
Some of the first words of greeting that Earth Sciences Professor Judy King receives from Biogeography students are: "Have you seen the garden today?"; "Did you notice how much the Sycamore has grown?"; "Those Monkey Flowers are blooming like crazy!" With funding from an ECO LED grant made possible by Edison International, 26 students joined forces to plan a garden, learn the scientific and common names of their plants, dig, add amendment, dig some more, learn to plant carefully, spread wood chips, build a path, and water diligently.
Students in Dr. Steve Blumenshine's aquatic ecology course work with a variety of community partners on issues of water quality and habitat restoration, including fish sampling, water testing, river restoration efforts and teaching aquatic ecology modules in local classrooms.
In Dr. Matthew Johnson's Upland Habitat Ecology course, students learn about the process of research by being exposed to real issues impacting their community and sharing their findings and recommendations with local planners and city officials.
Volunteer work aboard historic vessels in the San Francisco Bay is a tradition at California State University Maritime Academy. Robbie Jackson, instructor of Marine Engineering Technology, saw a need to spread the word among campus cadets to get involved by offering a Historic Ship Preservation service-learning course.
The students of Engineers Without Borders USA-Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (EWB-Cal Poly) are creating change domestically and abroad. In the summer of 2011, students worked with villagers in Sainji, India to create an economical and user-friendly corn de-kerneler to help ease the physical stress of their manual method.