Living Sustainably: “Sustainable literacy” is a good goal for 2019

By Michelle Gibbs, Office of Sustainability

Sustainability comes from the intersection of a balanced approach to a healthy environment, vibrant economy and equitable society.

With the recent turning of the new year and a new school semester starting this week, it is a great time to set a personal goal of “sustainable literacy.”
But what does this mean?  The United Nations shares that “sustainability literacy is the knowledge, skills and mindsets that allow individuals to become deeply committed to building a sustainable future and assisting in making informed and effective decisions to this end.”
Sustainability has been described in a number of ways, but the most common definition comes from the United Nations Brundtland Report (1987): “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Another common description comes from an ancient philosophy, The Great Law of the Iroquois, which calls for thinking about the “seventh generation” – a timeframe of approximately 140 years.

With both of these descriptions, thinking about how our choices today will impact the environment and future generations, especially far into the future, is a critical piece of creating a sustainable world.
So how do we do this?  We can implement the “triple bottom line” approach and think not only about the traditional bottom line (or the dollars) impact, but also bring to light the environmental and social impacts.  The triple bottom line encompasses economics, social equity, and the environment, now and into the future.

Starting at an early age, children can learn about the natural world as well as about their community and how they are a part of both of these systems – and start gaining sustainable literacy.

Sustainability is an important concept for everyone to apply and is really “K to gray learning.”
Starting at an early age, children can learn about the natural world as well as their community and how they are a part of both of these systems.  As we get older, we can learn about ways our daily choices have an impact on others and the planet, and we can make more thoughtful choices.

 

“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect,” said the great naturalist Aldo Leopold.

Kids and adults can plug into sustainable literacy in Holland in many ways, including:
 Get outside and take classes at one of our amazing local parks or nature centers.
 Kiddos can participate in summer camps offered by Hope College’s ExploreHope Program.
 Participate in local, state, and national government decisions.
 Head to Herrick District Library or one of our great local bookstores to find reading materials.
 Learn more about Holland’s Sustainability Framework at
www.cityofholland.com/sustainability and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs.

 Attend the monthly “Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore” events. Save the date for the following spring events:

o Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. at Herrick District Library — Environment (stormwater,
climate change, and resilient communities)
o March 5, 6:30 p.m. at Herrick — Quality of Life (affordable housing in Ottawa
County)
o April 23, 6:30 p.m. at Herrick — Economics (sustainable businesses in the
greater Holland area)
o May 14, 6 p.m. at Holland Energy Park — Transportation (green commuting in
Holland including a mini green vehicle car show and bike ride)

The bottom line of sustainable literacy is, then: Get to know the natural world and your personal impacts on it, get involved in your community, and together we will create a better world.

 Michelle Gibbs is the director for the Office of Sustainability at Hope College and the director for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a partnership between Hope, the City of Holland, and Holland Board of Public Works.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Hope College Student Research Presentations at MACC’s Annual Meeting

Hope College Student Research Presentations

Holland Sentinel “Living Sustainably Column” Article.

“Four groups of Hope College Advanced Environmental Seminar students presented the results of their semester long research projects on December 6 at the Macatawa Watershed Annual Meeting. All student groups focused on some aspect of heavy metals. Copies of their presentations are available here.

The team of Andrew Klein, Analise Sala and Cleveland Tarp looked at heavy metals concentrations in catfish and perch in Lake Macatawa and the Macatawa River. They caught fish from five locations in Lake Macatawa and one location in the Macatawa River. They measured concentrations of copper, lead, cadmium, and iron in each fish. They compared their results to recommended exposure levels and looked for relationships between concentrations and species, and concentrations and location. For all metals except iron, they did find elevated levels in fish tissue. No correlations were found between concentration and species or location. The MACC will continue to work with local partners to determine if further study of this issue and subsequent action is necessary.

The team of Sandra Brookhouse, Kaitlyn Caltrider and Samuel Click evaluated the effectiveness of different materials at removing heavy metals from stormwater runoff. In a laboratory setting, they poured different known concentrations of heavy metals through tubes filled with soil and other materials, specifically vermiculite and hugelkultur, and measured the concentrations of heavy metals in the liquid after it filtered through the tubes. They found that both vermiculite and hugelkultur removed heavy metals from the solution to levels well below recommended drinking water exposure. They are optimistic that these materials could be used to help remediate heavy metals in stormwater runoff.

The team of Alex Donaldson, Ian Gorgenson and Jared Jaent looked at concentrations of heavy metals in drinking water and the soil around Hope College’s Campus. The first part of their project involved testing drinking water from 10 locations for the presence of lead and copper. When they did not find any heavy metals present in any of their samples, they turned their focus to heavy metals in soils. Pipe corrosion had been an issue at the Western Theological seminar and they were curious how this may have an impact on the surrounding soils and potentially groundwater. They focused on copper lead and iron and did not find any concentrations in the soil above the recommended limit for exposure.

The team of Liam Kleinheksel, Elizabeth Morehead and Jacob Stid investigated the uptake of heavy metals by a few common garden vegetables. This could be a concern in urban areas contaminated with heavy metals where urban farming is becoming more popular. The looked at uptake of copper, lead and cadmium by radishes, spinach and arugula. In a laboratory setting, they simulated rainfall events with water that contained various concentrations of the 3 metals. At high concentrations of cadmium and copper, they did see uptake of heavy metals above the recommended exposure rate in arugula and radish (copper only). Their study also seemed to indicate that vegetables do not grow as vigorously when subject to high levels of heavy metals, specifically copper.”

 

STUDENT RESEARCH WINS FIRST PLACE AT NATIONAL GEOLOGY CONFERENCE

A research presentation by two Hope College students won a first-place award during the recent annual national meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Photo taken by faculty member Dr. Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman

Juniors Chelsea Moore of Muskegon and Amy Olgers of Holland were honored for their poster presentation of their research project “Reconnaissance of Microplastic Distribution in a Small Michigan Watershed,” which they conducted collaboratively this past summer with faculty member Dr. Brian Bodenbender.  They were chosen for the recognition in the Environmental and Engineering Geology Division out of a field of 24 entries that included graduate students as well as undergraduates.

To read the full article, please click here.

LIVING SUSTAINABLY: You Can Stomp out a Smaller Carbon Footprint

By Karey Frink’18, Intern for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute

Many factors make up each person’s carbon footprint, as shown in this illustration. Source: Ohio State University Extension

Carbon footprint.  This is term we are hearing used more often, but what really does that mean?
Carbon footprints are often thought about in terms of transportation habits. However, every person’s carbon footprint is comprised of much more.
Here’s a complete definition from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change: A carbon footprint is,“The total amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere each year by a person, family, building, organization, or company. A person’s carbon footprint includes greenhouse gas emissions from fuel that he or she burns directly, such as by heating a home or riding in a car. It also includes greenhouse gases that come from producing the goods or services that the person uses, including emissions from power plants that make electricity, factories that make products, and landfills where trash gets sent.”
Did you know that you can actually estimate your carbon footprint? Calculators can measure a variety of variables to reach a good estimation of your total annual carbon consumption.
To calculate your individual carbon footprint, The Nature Conservatory has a simple to use, free calculator at www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/consider-your-impact/carbon-calculator/. It takes into account travel, home, food, and shopping habits, and will report your carbon footprint in tons of carbon dioxide per year. It also will show how you rank compared to the average consumer.
Once you understand what your impact is, you can consider ways to reduce it. The same Nature Conservatory website has recommendations for reducing your transportation, household and shopping impact.
More locally, the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute website, hope.edu/sustainability-institute, includes resources to help community members reduce their environmental impact. These resources include information about Holland’s Home Retrofit Program, greening your commute, as well as looking local first when buying things.
Ultimately, the quickest and most significant step to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce or eliminate consumption where possible. Purchasing less, changing your diet, unplugging unused electronics, and utilizing natural light can quickly reduce carbon impact.

This chart shows the sources of greenhouse gases in the Holland community’s carbon footprint. The total of 735,200 metric tons in 2015 is down from 795,200 in 2010.
Source: Holland 40-Year Community Energy Plan

The City of Holland is also monitoring the whole community’s impact in terms of greenhouse gases as part of its 40 Year Community Energy Plan efforts. Find out more at https://www.cityofholland.com/sustainability/holland-community-energy-plan. In 2010, Holland’s carbon footprint was 24 metric tons per capita. By 2015, it was down to 22 tons. With the impact of reductions at the Holland Energy Park, that 2017 number is estimated to have gone down to 17 tons.

Information about Hope College’s Carbon Footprint can be found here:  https://hope.edu/offices/sustainability/campus-sustainability/greenhouse-gas-inventory.html

So why should you care?  Monitoring your individual impact will give you power over your consumption habits. It’s easy to think that our individual impacts may seem insignificant. However, collectively as a society, as we make these changes, we will start to see the impact of these changes.
 Karey Frink is an intern for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute and will be graduating from Hope College in December with a degree in communication and a minor in environmental science.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

JIM AND MARTIE BULTMAN STUDENT CENTER EARNS LEED GOLD CERTIFICATION

JIM AND MARTIE BULTMAN STUDENT CENTER EARNS LEED GOLD CERTIFICATION; WOOD FROM STORM-FELLED TREES LINKS PAST AND PRESENT

September 17, 2018 — by Greg Olgers

Organizations seeking LEED certification for their construction projects have many ways to earn it, including by using regional materials. In developing the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center, which recently received LEED Gold certification, Hope College integrated a meaningful resource from mere yards away: wood saved from venerable campus elms that were felled by a storm.

The trees were lost in a thunderstorm that caused damage throughout the Holland area in June 2011.  Hope saved the trunks and turned them into boards to be used some day in a way that commemorated the trees’ long tenure at the college.

The student center, which is in the central campus, provided the opportunity, with construction beginning in 2015 for a fall 2017 opening.  Boards from an elm estimated to have been 164 years old (older than Hope, chartered in 1866) panel the east wall of the building’s chapel.  A wall in a large, multi-use room and the wall and bench work surrounding the main lounge’s fireplace also feature wood from campus.

“The trees were present for generations as students attended Hope,” said Dr. Richard Frost, who is vice president for student development and dean of students at the college.  “The boards made from them provide a connection between the past, present and future.  Just as importantly, the wood has become a significant element in the student center being designated as a LEED Gold building.”

Image result for leed goldThe center is the second newly constructed building in a row at the college to earn LEED certification, with plans underway for a hat trick.  The Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts that opened in August 2015 holds LEED Silver certification, and Hope will also be seeking certification for the new Campus Ministries building that is under construction and scheduled to be completed next fall.

“Sustainability is an ongoing commitment for us, and constructing buildings with concern for the environment is an important part of that commitment,” said Kara Slater, who is director of operations at the college and is a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP).  “In the same way, the college is dedicated to exercising good stewardship in its day-to-day operations, whether it’s the water-efficient irrigation that we use across campus, installing LED lighting or through the cleaning materials that we use.”

Read the full press release here:

https://hope.edu/news/2018/campus-life/jim-and-martie-bultman-student-center-earns-leed-gold-certification-wood-from-storm-felled-trees-links-past-and-present.html 

Living Sustainably: People can expand or limit invasive bugs’ impact

This small fuzzy material and the tiny bug that creates it on hemlock trees is an invasive species that could have massive impact by decimating Michigan’s hemlock forests.

By Analise Sala ’19 and Micaela Wells ’19, Hope College
Travel has consequences. Thanks to an increasingly connected world, American forests house more than 360 non-native insect species, 30 percent of which have become serious pests.
By relocating and displacing organisms, we are effectively homogenizing our planet’s landscape in a period of great human influence on the environment that has been coined the “anthropocene.”
Many are aware of the emerald ash borer, an invasive Asian beetle. It was first discovered in 2002 in southeast Michigan, where by now it has killed over 99 percent of adult ash trees. The transport of firewood and nursery trees ensured quick spread from forest to forest throughout Michigan and the eastern U.S.
Dead trees all around Holland are symbols of this beetle’s destructive power.
This story is far from unique. Fewer than 15 years after the invasion of the emerald ash borer, a new insect threatens Michigan tree species. The invasive hemlock woolly adelgid has been discovered on Eastern hemlocks in West Michigan’s own dune forests.
And still another pest is knocking on our doors. The Asian longhorned beetle is devouring the heartwood of thousands of maples and other hardwood trees in neighboring Ohio and frequently hitches rides on human-transported firewood and shipping pallets.
These insects are not problematic in their home regions of highly interdependent systems. Home-range trees have evolved defenses against their longtime pests, and they can coexist with no danger of heavy infestation.

However, when the pests are transported away from their home regions, natural competitors and predators are left behind, allowing unchecked invasive populations to spread rapidly.
The danger, then, comes with us. Every tree, pallet, or pair of unwashed hiking boots moved from one place to another has the potential to introduce a new major player into an existing ecosystem. These major players can out-compete and displace multiple native species, reducing an area’s biodiversity.
We can best appreciate the local diversity of the places we visit by doing whatever we can to keep those places just that – local. Landscaping with local nursery stock, washing clothing after visiting the woods, and heeding those oft-overlooked Department of Natural Resources warnings against transporting
fish, firewood or soil are all great ways to slow the spread of invasives that threaten the unique ecosystems of our region.
We can also report the presence of invasive species to cooperatives like the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network which work to monitor and control invasive species spread. (Visit www.misin.msu.edu/ for more information.)
Undoubtedly, some pests will still spread, and scientists will need to explore new ways to combat those threats, but we can each help prevent the frequency at which they must do so. Explore and cherish our unique West Michigan ecosystems, but be mindful of what you take with you.
 Analise Sala and Micaela Wells are summer student researchers working at Hope College under Drs. Vanessa Muilenburg, K. Greg Murray, and Kathy Winnett-Murray on the project “Direct and Indirect Impacts of a Developing Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Invasion in West Michigan Dune Forests.”

Living Sustainably: Trees add value in Holland (Hope College Biology Student Research Project)

By Katelyn DeWitt, Hope College Biology Student

Katelyn DeWitt takes the measure of Holland’s tree resources as part of the City of Holland Urban Tree Canopy Inventory.

Have you hugged a tree lately?
This summer I have been walking around Holland doing just that. In a joint project between the City of Holland and Hope College, I have been working to census all of the trees on public property in Holland by recording every tree’s trunk diameter and species. I am also assessing them for the ecological benefits that they provide to the community.
Using the information I collect, and with a software tool called iTree, I have been estimating the amount of carbon sequestered, the air pollutants removed, and the water runoff intercepted by any individual tree.

For example, a dawn redwood in Centennial Park with a diameter of 38 inches is estimated to sequester 39.6 pounds of carbon, prevent 55.5 cubic feet of water runoff, and remove 25.2 ounces of pollutants every year!

This dawn redwood in Centennial Park gives back the equivalent of $8.43 every year.

These benefits are estimated to be worth $8.43 every year to the community, just for this one dawn redwood. Moreover, that tree is just one out of 4,000 – and counting – inventoried trees in Holland. The ecological value of the 3,663 inventoried trees is $16,166 every year.
When I was walking through neighborhoods measuring trees, people were often concerned and asked me if the city is going to cut down their tree, but that was not the case. Instead, unless the tree is diseased or poses a threat, the goal is to let them grow larger, because the larger the trees grow, the more ecological benefits they produce. Holland’s urban forest is vital to creating a sustainable and comfortable environment.

The annual ecological benefits of 3,663 inventoried trees in Holland to date are shown in this chart.

Understanding that trees enhance both environmental and human health, and making an effort to preserve them, will improve Holland’s environmental impact and attractiveness.  By preserving larger trees and planting new ones, Holland residents can make an investment.

Over a tree’s lifetime, its environmental benefits far exceed the value of wood that makes up the tree. For example, 30 years from now, that dawn redwood will be able to sequester about 68 pounds of carbon annually.
So, while I continue to get to know the trees in Holland, each by name, I encourage you to get to know them too.
Plant a tree in your yard. Some great trees to consider, based on their ability to provide environmental benefits, are honey locust, river birch, northern hackberry, silver maple and swamp white oak.
If you want to know how many benefits a tree in your yard provides, go to treebenefits.com. Finally, appreciate the beauty, clean air, the lower electric bills, soil stabilization, flood reduction, and other benefits that our trees provide.
So, go hug a tree, for they help create a beautiful, sustainable, and healthy community.

City of Holland tree poster_10July18

 Hope College student Katelyn DeWitt this summer was research assistant for the City of Holland Urban Tree Canopy Inventory Project overseen by Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray and Dr. Greg Murray of the Hope College Biology Department.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Creative Dining Services to use cage-free eggs

“Creative Dining Services has announced it will soon only use eggs from cage-free farms.

The Zeeland company, which operates food service programs at Hope College, Grand Rapids Community College and other local colleges, switched to cage-free eggs for its shelled egg products July 1 and plans to convert entirely to cage-free (liquid egg products included) by December.

As part of the transition process, 40 chefs from Creative Dining Services toured Vande Bunte Eggs’ cage-free hen houses to see where the birds are housed in natural settings — giving the birds the ability to exhibit natural behaviors — and ask questions about the egg farm.

‘Our chefs are passionate about using the best local ingredients and want to see how and where they are produced,” said Janine Oberstadt, director of corporate sustainability at Creative Dining Services. “This not only supports the Michigan egg industry and the upcoming changeover to cage-free, but also makes our chefs feel great about what they’re serving our guests every single day.'”

Read the full article in the Holland Sentinel at:  http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20180714/creative-dining-services-to-use-cage-free-eggs

June 2018 Sustainability News

June 2018 Sustainability News

June 30, 2018 – Parks enrich children’s lives

June 30, 2018 – ‘Task force’ quietly planning James DeYoung vision process

June 30, 2018 – The Annual Macatawa Water Festival is right around the corner, Saturday, July 14!

June 30, 2018 – Trump claims Saudi Arabia will boost oil production

June 30, 2018 – What will become of the historic Park Township airport?

June 29, 2018 – Where you can be a kid again: Adult summer camps

June 29, 2018 – Gypsy moths are back, defoliating trees in West Michigan

June 29, 2018 – $6 Million in Bogus Organic Fruit Sold to U.S., Costa Rican Report Finds

June 28, 2018 – Letter: Community Kitchen set to reopen

June 28, 2018 – Migrant workers prove vital to local farming community

June 28, 2018 – Hundreds arrested in DC protesting Trump immigration policy

June 27, 2018 – Back-to-school readiness contributes to your child’s academic success

June 26, 2018 – 5 simple ways to green your business

June 26, 2018 – New ‘Smart Brick’ will aid in snowmelt efficiency

June 26, 2018 – Mental illness – one common language

June 25, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Eating local – Food for thought

June 25, 2018 – Prudence Hilburn: You don’t need meat to have a complete meal

June 25, 2018 – Target, Tesco, CVS to Require Environmental Impact Data from Suppliers through CDP

June 24, 2018 – Hope science camps challenge young minds

June 24, 2018 – Canoeing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters

June 22, 2018 – Study shows business case for racial equity:  Report finds Michigan can gain $92 billion in economic output by 2050 if racial disparities are eliminated

June 22, 2018 – OPEC countries to pump more oil to contain price increase

June 22, 2018 – West Michigan companies rate as ‘Best for the World’

June 22, 2018 – Are Certificates of Deposit Worth It Right Now?

June 21, 2018 – Cities at the Crossroads of Consumption and Sustainability

June 21, 2018 – Small businesses and the benefits of conscious capitalism

June 21, 2018 – Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting oceans, Great Lakes

June 21, 2018 – Holland Police ice cream truck rolling out for second season

June 21, 2018 – Looking to the long term, UPS boosts fleet with CNG trucks

June 20, 2018 – Volunteers wanted for Holland State Park clean-up day

June 20, 2018 – Hamilton schools pass surplus budget

June 19, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Food projects help share the summer bounty

June 19, 2018 – U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N. Human Rights Council

June 19, 2018 – Has Environmental Sustainability Lost its Relevance?

June 19, 2018 – More Travel Providers Boost Sustainability Initiatives

June 19, 2018 – WO set to have enrollment drops, some deficits in 2018-19

June 19, 2018 – Donate school supplies, food pantry items to Stuff the Bus events

June 18, 2018 – Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study

June 18, 2018 – El Niño watch issued: How it could seriously affect this storm season

June 17, 2018 – DeVos muddies debate: Education leader’s comments spark immigration worries, outrage

June 16, 2018 – Why many Americans aren’t benefiting from robust US economy

June 15, 2018 – Sidewalk repairs, youth employment coming with Holland’s CDBG funds

June 15, 2018 – Michigan enacts toughest lead rules in U.S. after Flint crisis

June 14, 2018 – At Summertime Jamboree, play cornhole, race cockroaches and more

June 13, 2018 – Drug, assault and sex offenses up in Ottawa County

June 12, 2018 – Charitable giving in US tops $400 billion for first time

June 11, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Framework guides Holland’s sustainability efforts

June 7, 2018 – Yellowstone boss says Trump administration forcing him out

June 5, 2018 – Lawmakers, civil rights groups call for DeVos to set record straight on immigration, schools

June 5, 2018 – Local fruit farmers optimistic about upcoming season

June 5, 2018 – ‘Station Eleven’ picked for Big Read Lakeshore

June 4, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Summer is time to spur kids’ natural curiosity

June 1, 2018 – Group challenges Nestle’s water permit from Michigan

June 1, 2018 – Home Help: How to attract hungry hummingbirds to your yard

June 1, 2018 – Nicolas Loris: (Opinion) Why gas prices are pumped up – and how we can lower them

June 1, 2018 – Holland State Park receives beach wheelchair donation from nonprofit Lori’s Voice

June 1, 2018 – Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

Living Sustainably: Summer is time to spur kids’ natural curiosity

By Susan Ipri Brown, Hope College – Center for Exploratory Learning
“Nature is our kindest friend,” said the famous British scientist Michael Faraday.
Place-based environmental learning is a powerful tool for improving students’ knowledge of the world around them and sustaining their natural curiosity. Summer is the perfect time to put this natural curiosity into play as families and students explore and visit new places.
Help your student grow this summer by making a place of wonder of each place you visit to hike, bike, camp, or swim.
Foster that learning in students by just asking questions. “How does that work?” and “Where does that come from?” can start the mind running, and the students’ imagination will take off.
While you can look up many resources online ahead of time, often the best questions and most fun come from not knowing the answer and not programming every minute of the adventure. Ask the simple question and then guide the student to use online resources to answer them and delve further into the material.
In another way to foster summer learning, the Hope College Summer Science Camp program (hope.edu/explore) is developing a hands-on, nature-based camp – Exploring Ecosystems – to enrich students’ understanding of the ecology of their local area.
Two camps will be developed based on appropriate Michigan Science Standards for grades 3-5 as well as grades 6-8. The camps are being developed with funding from the Environmental Education Division of ASME, International.
Through observation, data collection and analysis, students will gain an understanding of how organisms interact with other organisms and the abiotic environment to form an ecosystem. Students will gain hands-on experience with watershed monitoring. Additionally, they will incorporate environmental
engineering topics such as water filtering and green roofs.
A biology educator is writing the program and will be mentoring college education majors as they staff the camp. Involvement of our Hope College science and education majors is a critical component of the program.
Through learning to develop and deliver environmental education programs, the student-teachers will be inspired to embrace such activities in their future career. Education majors report that camp staff positions give them confidence to take on their own classrooms and provide them the opportunity to explore new ways to teach and create inquiry-based lessons. Science majors will gain valuable experience communicating about science and participating in impactful outreach programs.
Exploring Ecosystems provides a more in-depth experience for interested students. Many science-themed camps provide students that opportunity to see the spark of wonder that nature provides. Students
are naturally curious about the environment and the interactions within nature.
But while camps are one option, casual family activities are a perfect place for learning, too.  Whether it’s a camp, a camping trip, or a long walk on a beautiful summer evening, make your outdoor adventure the spark of learning and science exploration.
 Susan Ipri Brown is director of the ExploreHope program and instructor of engineering at Hope College.

The Holland area offers a long list of opportunities for summer exploration. Here are a few ideas:
Holland State Park
Ottawa County Parks
DeGraaf Nature Center
Outdoor Discovery Center
Hope College Summer Science Camps
Windmill Island Gardens
Riley Street Trails
Window on the Waterfront
Wolters Woods
Holland Farmer’s Market
Saugatuck Dunes State Park
City of Holland Parks
Hudsonville Nature Center

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.