From mentoring children and organizing Earth Day activities to hosting high school classes and assemblies, dozens of Green Mountain students participate in service-learning every semester. The following are some recent activities completed through partnerships with regional schools and community organizations.
Poultney Earth Fair
The theme for the Third Annual Poultney Earth Fair, “Old Ways, New Days,” focused on sustainable ways from the past that could reduce environmental impacts today. "Affordable Green" and "Growing Greener Together" were previous themes. Many organizations participate in the Poultney Earth Fair, held annually at Poultney High School. They include Central Vermont Power Service, Merck Forest, N.O.F.A., Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District, Slate Valley Museum, Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, Vermont Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy.
Other recent projects at PHS include:
Friday Block Five Diversity Assemblies hosted by GMC's Intercultural Club. Other clubs and classes have hosted assemblies on other topics.
Career Exploration Workshops organized by the GMC career services office.
A variety of GMC classes and clubs helped PHS students prepare for the 2010 Envirothon.
Americorps VISTA Outreach Coordinator Chuck Domenie coached the Poultney High School Rock Climbing Club.
The Eco Expo
The Eco Expo is an annual event on the Green Mountain College campus for hundreds of fifth and sixth graders from Poultney, Fair Haven, Castleton, and the surrounding area. School teachers enroll their students in a series of activities in the afternoon, in which kids can watch or participate in presentations by Green Mountain students, professors, and other local environmental experts. The expo is organized by the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District.
Other recent and ongoing projects at PES and other elementary schools include:
GMC's Recreation Programming and Leadership Class led a two day leadership conference for 15 students in fourth - sixth grade at PES who now make up the student council.
Twenty college students mentor 20 PES students through the DREAM Mentoring program.
Prof. Eleanor Tison and GMC students host the PES Nature Club.
The section of the environmental education course taught by Prof. Teresa Coker works with PES students to practice teaching methods and help enrich the curriculum in the Poultney schools.
The Nature Conservancy Clayplain Restoration
For the past five years, most recently in the spring of 2010, environmental science students worked with the Nature Conservancy to learn about biodiversity and conservation biology while helping the organization with its clayplain restoration project, converting old agricultural lands back to the tree-covered Vermont woodlands they once were. Students plot and map tree plantings, assist with tree planting, and study the effects rodents and other pests have on different tree combinations.
Social Studies Methods
In the fall of 2009, Prof. Rommy Fuller’s Social Studies Methods class designed a collaborative unit for the second grade at Poultney Elementary School. Education students had the opportunity to work with each other and local educators to develop an intensive social studies unit which they taught over the course of two weeks. The project is scheduled to reoccur in the fall of 2010.
Outdoor Classroom Construction
Throughout Earth Week 2010, students, faculty and staff helped haul slate, dig holes and install benches for GMC's outdoor classroom. Prof. Lucas Brown and David Munyak designed the space, located next to the labyrinth. The project was led by Ashley Staron '10 and funded through the Student Campus Greening Fund. The classroom - which was completed at the end of Earth Week - features benches and a lecturn made from local slate. Read the project proposal.
GMC students mapped faculty and staff transportation miles in a GIS course. The project was requested by the Campus Sustainability Council to begin reducing the College's ecological footprint produced by transportation. View a poster.
Poultney Math Night
Students enrolled in an intensive nine credit math block designed especially for pre-service teachers enjoyed numerous opportunities to work with elementary children throughout Rutland County. The Math Night celebration took place at Poultney Elementary School in the spring of 2009. GMC students worked for several weeks to develop games that would enrich student learning in mathematics. The Math Night event attracted many PES students and their families.
Bowls for Hunger
In the spring ‘09, a ceramics class participated in Bowls For Hunger, a fundraiser coordinated by Rutland High School. Bowls the class created were donated to a supper event which raised money for the Rutland Community Cupboard through ticket sales. Students were required to attend the event and reflect upon the experience.
A media seminar course taught students to analyze and produce an environmental documentary. Students were responsible for selecting a community partner, assessing their needs and producing visual content for them. They selected the Vermont Cavers Association, for which they produced an eight minute documentary about White Nose Bat Syndrome; they presented this film in a public forum.
Recycling Sign Installation
As part of the civic engagement requirement in the Voices of Community composition course, students in the spring of 2007 installed signs at the town transfer station to increase awareness about the benefits of recycling for Poultney residents.
Psychology Field Work
Students in the fall 2007 Positive Psychology course did trail clean up for the Nature Conservancy and various duties for the Open Door Mission. They reflected on their sense of connection to the community, what their own level of well-being was, and how these experiences related to the strength of "justice" as it was described in class. They also noted similarities/differences between the experiences of helping others vs. helping the environment.
Posters for Community Partners
This Intro to Graphic Communication course covered the fundamentals of graphic design, including typography, idea generation, and layout. The final project for the course included a service-learning component that offered posters, designed by students, for community partners such as the Poultney Food Shelf and GMC’s Mentoring Club.
Natural Dye Project
Students taking organic chemistry used natural dyes to color “onesies” which were then donated to the Vermont Achievement Center’s infant program.
Outdoor Living Skills in Fair Haven
Students in the Outdoor Living Skills class taught by Prof. Thayer Raines traveled to Fair Haven, Vt., to teach a class of Fair Haven Elementary students about various outdoors skills. Presentations include camping gear use, tent set-up, knot-tying, and how to use a camping stovetop.