Sustainable Study Abroad Grants 2016-17

Jessica Barnett (St. Michael's College)
Middlebury School in Chile
"Health & Sustainability: Gaining Perspective through Gardening"

I will be volunteering for one week with the organization Tierra y Valle de los Niños. Located in Pisco Elqui, Chile, this organization educates children about sustainable living practices through the development of an organic garden. During my time with Tierra y Valle, I will provide a workshop for the children and incorporate key concepts learned this past semester from my public health and community and family nursing courses. Through an interactive activity during the workshop, my goal is to highlight the importance of the children’s participation with Tierra y Valle as well as help them to gain a global perspective. I look forward to capturing video of the experience and ultimately hope to demonstrate the impact of the garden on the development of the youth in the community. I would also like to say muchas gracias to Middlebury College for allowing me to have this experience!    

Sylvie Grenier
Middlebury School in France (Tufts University)
"Young adult attitudes about global climate change: Studying youth commitment to resolving societal problems"

It is infinitely beneficial, albeit challenging, to unite diverse groups of people. As a Child Study and Human Development major, I am especially interested in young adults who are on the verge of becoming active members of society as voters, scientists, political leaders, and policy makers. As environmental issues become severe and climate concern continues to grow, knowing how to unite future generations in climate action is critical; future leaders must be able to meet the challenges they will face. Thanks to the Middlebury Sustainable Study Abroad Grant, I will be able to collect data during my semester abroad in Paris, France, which will help me to understand the relationship between young adults’ environmental attitudes and behaviors, as well as their confidence in their abilities to address important issues and their willingness to do so. Ultimately, these findings will shed light on how young adults find common ground on environmental issues, a phenomenon that might then be generalized to include other societal issues. Whether considering environmental issues or other politicized issues, finding common ground is a critical aspect of policy making as it ensures that policies receive adequate support.

Abigail McCeney
Middlebury School in Chile
"Jardín Vertical"

During my semester in Valparaíso, Chile I have had the opportunity to intern with Corporación Municipal de Valparaíso in their education sector. As part of this internship I work once a week at a local school and help with their environmental workshop. The workshop is designed for older students, around the age of 15, who are eager to work with their hands on environmental projects that benefit their school and community. I will be using a Middlebury Sustainability Grant to fund a project that I can lead myself for the students of this workshop, a vertical garden made from recycled bottles. The reason behind building a vertical garden stems from my desire to teach children about sustainable food systems and projects that they can replicate in their own homes. Vertical gardens require little space and few materials, and therefore are good options for living in a city like Valparaíso. Through a step by step, simple construction process, I will help the students understand the importance and simplicity of growing your own food, and how to do so from simple infrastructure such as recycled juice bottles. Furthermore, I want to support the effort of Liceo Matilde Brandau Ross in their creation and expansion of green spaces and sustainable environmental education program.

Grace Monk (Brown University)
Middlebury School in Chile
"Memorias del Territorio"

With a Sustainability Grant, I’m hoping to finance a mural and workshop for children specifically focused around the theme of sustainability. The theme of the mural will be the diverse natural geography of Chile. As we run the painting workshop for children, we’ll discuss this region’s natural history and celebrate its geography. We’ll also discuss another kind of sustainability: sustainable community art. Street art has transformed Valparaíso in recent years, but it comes from a tradition of illegal graffiti. As we promote a sustainable form of community art, we’ll engage kids and community members with questions surrounding what art can bring to a community and how artists can gear their passions towards improving community spaces and awareness of crucial issues.

Sophia Ptacek (Wesleyan University)
Middlebury School in Chile
"Environmental Education with Valpo Surf Project"

I will be using a Middlebury Sustainability Study Abroad Grant during my semester in Valparaíso, Chile, to develop an environmental education project with Valpo Surf Project (VSP). VSP is a non-profit organization that works with children from vulnerable communities throughout the city teaching surfing lessons, English classes, and environmental stewardship. With the grant, I will be teaching a class and taking the students of VSP on an excursion with a focus on the coastal flora and fauna of Chile. The objective of the class will be to introduce the key concepts of ecology and ecosystems. The excursion, which will be led by a professional guide from the Red de Pequeños Ornitólogos (“Network of Small Ornithologists”), will consist of a tour of a local protected wetlands area known for its biodiversity in native birds and plants. The purpose of the class and excursion is to provide the students with an opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna of their local environment in an interactive and entertaining manner, with the ultimate goal of increasing their environmental awareness.