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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Spring Hill High School, Chapin, South Carolina, USA

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Spring Hill High School, Chapin, South Carolina, USA
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Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Little Mtn
Posts: 1
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My ecology project was done in order to promote awareness of local bee populations and the species' impact on the environment. This project grew from mine and my father's interest in beekeeping and began with a desire to provide extra plants for the Special Education garden which would increase crop yields by attracting pollinating bees. Two outdoor planters were built at waist-height, allowing students in the Spring Hill High School Special Education Program who use crutches to participate in the outdoor agricultural lessons. These planters were an addition to the existing garden, widening educational and hands-on opportunities for students with limited mobility. The Spring Hill High School Special Education students are an extremely industrious group of teenagers, maintaining a garden, selling local produce, and operating the recycling initiative at school. It was clear to me, when planning this project, that I needed to work toward improvements for this group of students.

To accompany the planters, a set of lesson plans were organized and written, teaching the importance of honey bees and how providing bee-attracting plants assists in food production and ecosystem stability. When educational opportunities are provided alongside an ecological project, it provides opportunities for students to act on what they have learned, long after the project is finished.

The process to complete the project began with research on how bees contribute to the ecosystem. It included checking out many books about the subject that are appropriate for young and low-level readers. From there, I met with an elementary school teacher and learned how to write lesson plans. I narrowed down the subjects that I wanted to cover in the lessons and wrote the lessons for any teacher in the school district to use in their classes. To complete the planters, research was done on what design of planter to put in the garden. I then gathered a team of family and friends to help build and install the planters. Supplies of gardening soil and pansies were provided to go in the planters, as these flowers are effective in attracting bees. Later in the spring, produce will be incorporated into these planters, expanding the crop yields for the garden.

The project succeeded in providing easy access to class crops for students with crutches and providing teachers with quick lessons about bees and their relation with the ecosystem. The Special Education students at Spring Hill High School benefitted from the project, while teachers were given access through the district office to classroom lesson sets that they can incorporate into their lesson plans. About eight people were directly involved in the project. There are currently eighteen special education students at Spring Hill, and the lessons will benefit those students and others for years to come.

The lesson will continue far past the time that it is finished. The lesson plans will be put online for any teacher to use, while the picture book used in the curriculum will be provided to the district office in order for any teacher in the area to have the suggested materials. The planters in the garden will continue to be used by the Special Education department and incorporated into the department's gardening-related classroom activities for years to come.
Through my ecology project, I learned that you can incorporate your passions and interests into your work, teaching those around you and making a change in your community. This project allowed me to teach those in my life about the role of bees, while also allowing those with limited mobility to take part in class activities.

My own skills grew, as well, as I learned more about construction and carpentry. Building the planters was a rewarding experience, and I enjoyed seeing it all come together in the end. The construction of the planters was the most memorable part of the project, because it allowed me to build something and then see the final product aid those around me. It was that result of the planters that made me feel good about volunteering. Seeing how the class can benefit from the planters and learn from them was an amazing experience.

To other young people, I would say that having the opportunity to not only volunteer for something but to build your own community project from the ground up is amazingly rewarding. It's not about collecting service hours; It's about the initiative that allows you to contribute to the community through what you love to do. That's what makes the entire experience so rewarding, in the end.
Date: December 28, 2018 Views: 5632 File size: 18.6kb, 1749.0kb : 2816 x 2112
Hours Volunteered: 70
Volunteers: 6
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 17 to 58
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