CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2011 SEEDS CHAPTER OF THE YEAR!
University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón -Leading Initiative for Future Ecologists (LIFE) Chapter
The SEEDS Program of the Ecological Society of America is honored to recognize University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón for their tireless creative energy in promoting diversity and action in ecology. See below for UPR, Bayamón's Chapter mission and history.
The mission of University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón L.I.F.E.'s Chapter is to promote interest for science within the students, specifically in the field of ecology, through educational and hands-on activities. Furthermore, we want to involve the general public in activities to build environmental conscience.
The student organization Leading Initiative for Future Ecologists (LIFE) was established in 2006 in the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamon. The goal of LIFE is to promote an interest in the environment – its study and conservation- not only within the student community, but also among the general public. Education, diversity, and research are the pillars of our organization.
Since its foundation LIFE has engaged in various activities to accomplish its purpose: field trips, research projects, conferences, and partnerships with other organizations. LIFE conducted a research project for two years (2007-2009) on the ecology of the Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus) and results of this project were presented at the 2008 ESA Annual Meeting. In 2009 we started to work with the organization Vida Marina -which is dedicated to the conservation of aquatic ecosystems- on a fishing line recycling project. We are in charge of three containers and we give conferences about the importance of fishing line recycling to K-12 schools. LIFE also helped Vida Marina in the restoration of dunes and mangrove reforestation. In addition, during this year LIFE’s members joined the Vereda Nativa project of the Biology Department of UPRB to promote education about trees native to Puerto Rico. This activity, normally performed at the UPRB’s forest patch, was modified to be taken to the Children's Museum in San Juan in 2010.
Goals and Achievements:
Education, research, and diversity are the pillars of our organization. We believe education is the best alternative when pursuing changes and research is one of the main tools to achieve it. We welcome students from diverse fields, inside and outside biology, to join our efforts. LIFE presents students, especially those in biology majors, a professional alternative in the field of ecology. Our hands-on activities (e.g., camping trips, field trips, workshops) stimulate interest in the environment not only among the students but also the general community, which is another target of our activities. This way we promote knowledge on the importance of conservation and sustainability to people from diverse backgrounds.
LIFE has been acknowledged in several occasions. This organization has been recognized for its work three times (2007 to 2009) by the Office of Student Organizations of the UPRB. LIFE also obtained the Second place for the Seeds Chapter of the Year Award in 2008.
LIFE has been a pioneer in Bioblitz: up to 2011 LIFE has celebrated it five consecutive years. Since 2007 our Bioblitz has been an encounter between experienced researchers, students from different departments, high school students, UPRB personnel, and general public.
Ongoing projects include a partnership with a community organization in El Yaguazo Corridor. The research project to be conducted in this area is planned to be started during the 2011-2012 academic year. Other activities common to LIFE are attendance to conferences (like those offered by the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico and the Sierra Club) and visits to places of ecological relevance in Puerto Rico (like the salt marshes in Cabo Rojo or Mona Island).
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2010 SEEDS CHAPTER OF THE YEAR!
Diné College: DECO Club
The SEEDS Program of the Ecological Society of America is overjoyed to recognize DECO SEEDS Chapter of Diné College and their noble efforts to create a positive change in their community. They have really gone above and beyond the call of duty, standing strong and working hard for all of the successes they have earned. See below for DECO's Chapter mission and history.
To decrease our individual and campus carbon footprint through means of recycling, education, and eco-friendly sustainable community projects.
The project description is Dine Ecology Club or DECO Club for short. Our mission statement is to raise awareness of environmental pollution and to reduce the college’s ecological footprint by encouraging reduce, reuse and recycle philosophies. The purpose of Diné Ecology Club is to provide students with experience and opportunities in focusing on a broad range of results oriented, collaborative, student involvement activities, and working with faculty. As students, we are developing a comprehensive understanding our environmental toxins as well as encouraging recycling. We work with the community on environmental issues and recycling activities. Our charter emphasize on the (1) significance of introducing think green aspects to our Navajo people and support to make it a reality; (2) We are working to better educate the community about issues relating to both recycling and environmental impacts through Diné Ecology Club activities and provide information to students on SEEDS mission (3) The club meeting are held every Thursday at 1200 and regular leadership meetings every two weeks. During our leadership meetings, the officers will discuss activities and take minutes. Club members discuss future activities and supplies needed for the club. Club members provide resources and ideas for educational environmental based events and activities to work with. (4) The member’s anticipated impact for the Diné Ecology Club was to make it a regular club here at the college. It will impact all students, faculty, and the community.
Goals and Achievements:
Diné Ecology Club took on the challenge to help meet the waste disposal demands of growing concerns affected with environmental pollution for current and future residents of the community. Our charter plans on working on addressing safe and proper disposal of environmental waste within the community. The involvement of our charter educate the community on the dumping of hazardous waste, help the community to identify, address the exposure of local environmental and public health issue within the area and risks includes: (1) Request in DECO Recycling Club proposal for the construction of a new recycling program and taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product. Diné Ecology Club plans to work with affected environmental pollution and to create a self-sustaining community based partnership that will continue to improve local environments in the future, support, and empower communities that are working on local solutions to local environmental and/or public health issues. (2) Transport recyclables to a recycling facility 28 miles East of for recycling or proper disposal. The results include: (1) improving the reliability of safe hazardous waste disposal to our community. (2) Increasing the capacity of the recycling demand to meet the growth needs of the community for the foreseeable future (3) Recycling program will meet the total demand of our community and (4) will meet all the standards of the EPA In the disposal of hazardous waste. These improvements will result in improve quality of life for area residents. The recycling project will involve multiple stakeholders, including the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, and the area residents.
* A recycling program that is sustainable and progressive
* Promote public awareness about simple methods in keeping the environment healthy
* Implementing ideas, programs, and service to our community
* Recycle bins, liners and placed at strategic locations on campus
* When the cycle is complete, the recycling project is a successful and beneficial club. We have done our part in contributing to a cleaner and sustainable campus by reducing the waste for an eco-friendly environment Integrating Navajo Culture and Science
The Diné believe everything is inter-connected with each other creating a balance (Hozhó) e.g., Mother/Father, Night/Day, and Earth/Sky. These pairs must remain in homeostasis or in a state of balance to each other. All elements of fire/light, water, air, and soil, kept in equilibrium with each other. These elements are sacred to Diné philosophy and in life. The principle of K’é is used to show respect to the environment. Life is the Earth and the Sky. A balance must be kept to maintain stability. These concepts will teach the younger generation a need to start recycling. Diné Ecology Club works to educate the community on how to be more responsible about their trash. It starts with young children who in turn will educate older adults to respect all living things as well as the environment.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2009 SEEDS CHAPTER OF THE YEAR!
University of Texas, El Paso: Environmental Advocates
The Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS program is proud and excited to announce the recipients of the 2009 Chapter of the Year Award: The University of Texas, El Paso's Environmental Advocates. UTEP's Environmental Advocates have worked extremely hard for all of the successes that have earned them the prestigious title of Chapter of the Year. We are all very proud of UTEP's Environmental Advocates and look forward to a bright future with them as our SEEDS Chapter Leaders!
Below are the Environmental Advocates chapter mission and its fascinating history, in their own words:
The purpose of the Environmental Advocates is to preserve our environment, while creating educational opportunities for students interested in protecting the environment. We participate with other local groups in environmental activities such as clean up days in the Rio Grande, or the Franklin Mountains State Parks, and bring environmental awareness to the public.
UTEP's SEEDS Chapter, Environmental Advocates, is both pleased and humbled to be chosen 2009 SEEDS Chapter of the Year. Our Chapter had an incredibly productive year, working on a wide variety of environmental topics, outreach activities, and, of course, our SEEDS special project grant.
- As part of our SEEDS Special Project grant students obtained soil, sediment and water samples from a variety of sites around El Paso. They learned field techniques for heavy metal sample collections. The lab analysis was done primarily by three Environmental Advocate members (undergraduates: Israel Del Toro and Ashley Lopez; graduate: Kevin Floyd). Lab procedures were carried out in either my lab or that of our co-advisor Dr. David Borrok. Part of our data will be included in at least one publication by Israel and Dr. Borrok while other samples will be included in a future publication by Kevin Floyd. Israel presented this work at the annual Ecological Society of America meeting in Albuquerque. Other members participated in the outreach component of the project. Students gave presentations on campus (informational and recruitment) and at local schools and environmental festivals. For instance, SEEDS chapter members prepared a 45 minute presentation which focused on the wildlife of the Chihuahuan Desert and the importance of conservation of this unique ecosystem at Clint High School to three classes of 9th and 12th grade students (72 students). The material covered was coordinated with the biology instructor John Wilson in order to address key points that the students would cover as part of their state required curriculum.
In addition to the SEEDS project, our Chapter met weekly and had activities throughout the year including: hosting environmental film festivals, Earth Week activities, attending state and national conferences on student activism, hosting environmental speakers, volunteering at a local organic farm and additional outreach presentations at schools and churches.
- One of the accomplishments of our group last year was our ability to coordinate with other campus organizations and local environmental groups. This led to several environmental fairs, an expanded Earth Week celebration, a filmfest during UTEP's Women's History Month, food giveaways with the Vegetarian Society of El Paso, and talks with the local group of the Sierra Club among other events.
The group also organized several field trips to learn more about and enjoy our Chihuahuan Desert. One of these was to the Sevilleta LTER site in Albuquerque. Students meet with scientists and learned about research opportunities at the site. We also went on two camping trips to regional national parks.
This year is promising to follow up on our successes of last year. Our Chapter is working with other campus organizations to draft a ballot initiative to institute a student "green fee." If the ballot passes, green fees would be used to improve a variety of campus activities to lessen our impact in producing greenhouse gases. We have also had several outreach activities promoting environmental ethics. Lastly, we have had fun enjoying our natural environment by hiking and picnicking in our Chihuahuan desert backyard. Thanks again to SEEDS for inspiring us to be active, involved members of our campus community by providing opportunities for us all!
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2008 SEEDS CHAPTER OF THE YEAR!
University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras’ SEEDS Chapter: Amá,Ké,Kachi,Ará (AKKA)
The Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS program announces with great
pride and honor, the recipients of the 2008 Chapter of the Year Award: The
University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras’ SEEDS Chapter, AKKA. AKKA has
worked extremely hard for all of the successes that have earned them the
Chapter of the Year Award. We are all very proud of AKKA and look forward
to a bright future with them as our SEEDS Chapter Leaders!
Below are AKKA’s chapter mission and its fascinating history, in the words of AKKA chapter members Manuel Sanfiorenzo De Orbeta and Colibrí Sanfiorenzo-Barnhard:
AKKA SEEDS main mission is to promote scientific research through ecology and its applications. Our Chapter emphasizes the importance of science and the scientific method in everyday life. We also emphasize the importance of trans-disciplinary fields of study, which include the natural science, the humanities, education and the social sciences. In addition, AKKA promotes the personal and academic growth of its members by creating different spaces where they can learn, teach and question life through the integration of their ideas and thoughts about ecology, conservation and the natural world. For active members this space is by far one of the most attractive aspects of AKKA.
AKKA has had a dense history of success in a short amount of time. AKKA has had many successes for both the chapter and its members. We are officially part of the university student organizations, where we have been able to acquire a small office for the use of all our members. AKKA has created a web page (www.akkaseeds.org) in Spanish that has 103 visits since February 20th. In this web page we are able to show local and international Spanish speaking people what AKKA SEEDS is all about and the activities that we have done and want to do in the future. This coming year we hope to translate the web page into English. We have 15 active members, all of which have an active role in the formation of the chapter. All our members are doing research in the field of ecology or environmental science. AKKA has established five main programs which we carry out throughout the year: 1) AKKA Conference Program, 2) Conference/field trip Program, 3) Educational Documentary Program, 4) Community Work Program and 5) Proposal Writing Program.
Our AKKA conference program receives about 20-30 participants per conference, including our active members. Most of the conferences take place at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras campus in collaboration with the Graduate Biology Student Association in an activity called BioLunch. In addition, the AKKA Conference Program has been invited to other UPR campuses (e.g. UPR-Bayamon) and Symposiums (e.g. Urban Ecosystem Symposium of San Patricio Forest). The Conference/field trip Program was created in an effort to promote AKKA and maintain active involvement of students. It has grown into a collaborative effort between graduate students and professionals in different field of study. This program has been instrumental in achieving mentoring at various levels and maintaining active membership. The Educational Documentary Program, although in its infancy has already successfully posted a number of short documentaries on YouTube with a variety of themes such as cave ecology and who AKKA is and what it wants to do in the future. Also, this program has been able to receive support from professionals in the field of documentary through workshops and active mentoring. The Community Work Program is based on active collaboration between AKKA and local community organizations. We are collaborating with CUBU to try and restore an urban forest as well as enabling the area so it can be used as a school yard laboratory for the adjacent schools of the community. We are also working with GAIA to promote science in elementary schools around the island. One of the programs that has been growing and hopefully will continue to grow is our Proposal Writing Program. AKKA has successfully attained two maintenance grants and one special projects grant from the SEEDS program (*AKKA has now received two special project grants). We have received funding support from the Institute of Tropical Ecosystems Studies, the Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation and the Natural Science Department to achieve the different programs mentioned above. Today we are waiting for replies from the SEEDS Program and the Federal Program for Urban Reforestation in Puerto Rico of proposal written to further our programs.
AKKA has also been able to incorporate into the university administrative groups through the representation of our President, Manuel Sanfiorenzo De Orbeta, in the Environmental advice group of the senate. Sanfiorenzo is also one of the lead organizers of the Committee for the Development of the University Century Park located in our campus. AKKA has also 9 past and present members who have participated in SEEDS activities such as fellowships (2), field trips (2), leadership meetings (3) and ESA travel awards (2). Finally, this year AKKA has also been full of recognition from our university and international organizations. AKKA has been recognized by: 1)INVENTIO, the graduate research and technology magazine of the UPR, for its work in Mona Island, 2) Dialogo, UPR newspaper, for its work with the local community, 3) SEEDS Dispersal, for the collaboration with LIFE Chapter and 4) OTS- Manual for Best Practices for recruiting and Retaining Underrepresented Groups in Ecology and the Environmental Sciences, for our work as active educators and recruiters and our collaboration efforts.
All this success has not come easy for us. We have worked very hard to keep AKKA active and representative in our community. Sometimes we are fighting against the tides with administrative aspects of funding here at our University. Nevertheless we always come back on top because of our great unity between student members and our collaborators. As one of the AKKA founders I am extremely proud of what the students have accomplished in just one year and the ability they have to ignite fire and energy into everybody who comes for the first time to one of AKKA’s meetings. I know that they will continue to grow as a team and as individuals.