|Contribute to "e"!
inc. is dedicated to answering the question, "How can we create
conservation citizens for life?" If you'd like to be part of this
important mission, you can donate to us by mail or online. To donate by
mail, please send to:
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
You can also make a secure online donation through our website, www.e-action.us.
Mission Hill Students "Roam the Rainforest"
Thursday afternoon this fall, a group of local schoolchildren traveled
the Amazon-- without ever leaving their Mission Hill Neighborhood. It
was all part of an "e" inc. after-school
program called "Roaming the Amazon Rainforest", in which students
discovered the wonders of the rainforest through first-hand experiences
and explorations. Best of all, as they began their inquiries and
started to make connections with the issues the rainforest faces today,
they were motivated to jump into action to help protect it.
Mission Hill fourth-graders used their rainforest "visits" as an
entryway into the rainforest's complex ecosystem and the important
issues affecting it. On a recent Thursday, "e" educator
Kimberly Guerra was placing pictures of rainforest animals around the
park behind the school. Her students did a scavenger hunt, and each
time they found an animal, they noted whether it was pasted up high or
down low. The kids noticed that there were many more species high in
the rainforest canopy than on the ground. As they discussed this, they
realized that the canopy was rich in all kinds of foods and so had the
capacity to feed more species.
Many of the activities "e" inc. uses
help students access abstract concepts, such as "carrying capacity" or
"sustainability". In one session, the class talked about how
hunter-gatherers "read" the landscape in order to survive, then used
clues about the world around them to find their way to a hidden bag of
fruit and nuts. In another exercise, Kim used pencils to represent
capybaras, a ground-dwelling rodent hunted in the rainforest. The
students were "predators" and they could "eat" (take) as many capybaras
as they wanted. By the last students turn, there were no capybaras
left. A discussion ensued: Was this fair? Could it be sustained over
time? Another day, Kim used an experiment to demonstrate how plant
roots hold soil in place. Later in the session, this helped the team
relate clear-cutting to erosion and caused a brainstorming session on
ways to harvest trees sustainably.
Educator Kimberly Guerra lends a hand to an inquisitive
"Not only have students
enjoyed these experiences," Kim says, "but they have used them as a
springboard for discussions on rainforest conservation." For example,
one day the kids discussed the problem of clear-cutting the forest to
make room for cattle farms providing inexpensive meat to the United
States. The students decided to work on this problem for their ongoing
project-- part of the "e" inc. model. First, they chose one day a week on which they
would not eat beef. Then they began a school-year-long pledge campaign
to get as many peers, teachers and family members to agree to join them
in not eating beef on Thursdays all year.
Kim is excited about the success of the rainforest program, as well as the other "e" inc.
curricula she is teaching. In addition to starting the rainforest
program with a new group of students this month, she is teaching "Ocean
Explorers", which covers ocean biodiverity, and "How to Be Cool About
Getting Hot", which tackles global warming, at other sites around
Boston. In each program, the group develops an environmental action
project that continues through the year, as the rainforest students
did. In the oceans group, kids pledges to keep a nearby storm drain
clean and are now writing letters to the mayor asking for more trash
and recycling bins on the streets. Global warming students made
light-switch plates that remind teachers and students to turn off
lights when they leave a room. Throughout the year they'll document any
changes they observe in the number of lights left on in the school.
Students work together to puzzle out the mysteries of the rainforest
team actions that the students create and continue after the 12-week
sessions end are the most exciting part for Kim. "It can take an
enormous effort to make these concepts accessible to young children,"
she says, "but once the students grasp the science and realize that
their actions actually make a difference, they take steps that amaze
and impress me. I am very proud of the work that all of my students
|"Winter Lights in the Rainforest": Education and Celebration
On a December Saturday in Cambridge, children
and families came together to celebrate the
holidays and help the environment at a wonderful
fundraising event held by "e"
"Winter Lights in the Rainforest". The event,
which took place at a Starbucks Cafe in Kendall
Square, provided a fun holiday setting as
kids learned some of the science that fuels
the rainforest and ways in which they could
help preserve it. After exploring stations
set up for rainforest lessons and also doing
scavenger hunts, field notebooks, and other
hands-on activities, our visitors left empowered
to preserve the rainforests in their daily
lives through small measures, such as assessing
what rainforest products (like food and wood)
they use at home and considering ways to shop
event displayed the spirit and quality of
year-round work helping local students understand
the science of the environment and its relevance
to their lives, as well as their capacity
to act as agents of positive change. "Winter
Lights in the Rainforest" not only raised
funds for "e",
but it taught science and civics at the same
time-- and spread holiday cheer to boot. We
look forward to bringing the rainforest back
to wintry Boston next year!
Who's Studying Who? An attendee of "Winter Lights in the Rainforest" contemplates a monkey drawn on the window
|"e" Launches New Website
excited to announce that our new, improved website
is up and running! You'll see a great new design
by Web Designer Jerry Shu, as well as a number
of new features including a kids' page, a photo
gallery of "e"
and an "e"
The shop is a great place to buy sustainable
and local goods from companies like Equal Exchange,
Barefoot Books, and Dancing Deer Baking Company,
with 10% of the proceeds going to our work in
area schools. Pay us a visit on the web at www.e-action.us
and let us know what you think!
"e" inc.'s Global Warming Workshop: Coming to a School Near You!
its debut last April, "e"
Global Warming Workshop has informed, enlightened,
and entertained hundreds of elementary and
middle school children in the Greater Boston
area. The new workshops are interesting, fun,
hands-on and carefully designed to make the
complex issue of global warming accessible
to children and youth. Most importantly of
all, each workshop results in action from
the kids. In the past, these have included
making speeches to other classes, putting
up posters in the school halls, making reminder
light-switch plates for classrooms and organizing
video viewings. To learn more about bringing
this fun workshop to your school, phone Dr.
Ricky Stern at 617-227-1522 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder Speaks at MIT
Dr. Ricky Stern, founder and Executive Director of "e" inc.,
was a featured panel speaker at MIT's Seventh Annual Regional
Sustainable Development Forum which took place on January 25th at MIT's
Sloan School of Management. Dr. Stern spoke about Sustainability
Education along with Steve Lanou, Deputy Director of Environmental
Sustainability at MIT, and Nebbulla Stephen, Program Manager of BOLD
(Breath of Life Dorchester) Teens. To learn more about the event,