April 21, 2017
Reprinted courtesy of Jim Poyser, Earth Charter Indiana
A DAY OF SERVICE — Eighth-grade students from Center for Inquiry School 2 recently spent the day cleaning up Spades Park and planting trees and spreading seeds at Pogue’s Run during a Service Learning Day outing. The students worked with Earth Charter Indiana, Salesforce and the Indiana Department of Public Works.
Coordination can be complicated, especially if you are working with multiple
partners. Then you’ve got Mother Nature coming into play with unpredictable
weather. But the rewards of spending a day outside, getting your hands dirty,
are immeasurable, and worth any effort in implementing.
Case in point, Earth Charter Indiana’s recent Service Learning Day at Spades
Park. This idea initially came from Dawn Corbin, a science teacher at Center for Inquiry School 2. Corbin and a
team of eighth-graders are involved in an annual middle school project called IMAGINE: Students for Global and Local Action. This
project-based learning experience brings middle school students together from
around Central Indiana to solve complex issues with innovation and service
ideas. This year’s inquiry is around carbon emissions, and why there’s so much
more CO2 in the atmosphere.
The CFI School 2 kids wanted to study the idea of invasive
species. How do they get here? Why do
they flourish? What do we do about them? I connected the school to the Indiana Department
of Public Works’ Land Stewardship experts, Don Miller and Jacob Brinkman for
ideas, and it was a natural next step to reach out to my friends at Salesforce
to add to our team.
Salesforce is always looking for ways to make their community
thrive, said yes, so we were off and running for a great day outside.
To warm up, we picked up trash from around Spades Park. Later,
students and the Salesforce team planted around 60 trees (spicebush and pawpaw)
along Pogue’s Run waterway. They also distributed a wheelbarrow full of
Virginia wild rye along a 1,000-foot stretch of Pogue’s Run to cut down on
erosion. If that wasn’t enough fun, together we began to tackle invasives. There
is no shortage of honeysuckle, so the kids grabbed “loppers” and got to work. Our
final step was a visit to pay homage to the Mother Tree near Spades Park, a
fitting end to our great day outdoors working in nature restoration.
There are days — every day, in fact — where I am overwhelmed by
the work required to restore the balance between humans and nature. From
politics to climate denial to humanity’s bad habits, there seems to be no way
we can rectify the impact of consumption and pollution. A Service Learning Day
addresses the feeling of hopelessness by creating action.
To see more photos from the Service Learning Day with CFI School
2 students, click here.