Student Volunteering and Environmental Studies–Winchester High

By Alex Smith-Lin

There are a couple different ways in which Winchester High School students are currently working to partner with Friends of the Fells. One of these ways is directly through classes. Several senior focus classes are currently working on a project on volunteering. While the project does not specifically require working with the Fells, many students have chosen to commit their time, and efforts to cleaning up the Fells and also to assisting with hikes and walks throughout the area. Some volunteering opportunities include assisting with Gillian’s Saturday morning series, which leave around 8:30 AM from various locations, Doug’s historical hikes, and then some trail runs. This is not the only way that students can get involved, as they can also help with office work and/or communications, such as I am doing, on the Fells blog page.

From a Winchester High clean-up in the fall.

From a Winchester High clean-up in the fall.

So far throughout our school year, we as a class have learned about why the environment is so important to protect, and why it is such a big factor in the upcoming presidential race. Based on what we have learned, a typical conservative view, though not always, is that global warming is a myth. Conservative candidates such as Mike Huckabee have alleged that there is actually no such thing as climate change or that it can’t be induced by humans, and that the change in global temperature is in fact just the cycle of the earth. Not to insult any conservatives that believe in this, but global climate change is clearly a huge issue, and the fact is that humans are contributing to it. Numerous reports and data point to this, so there really is not a question of whether global warming is happening. To protect our earth, and on a smaller scale, places like the Fells, it is in our best interest to help protect the environment and live sustainably. That means even little things, like recycling more, using less energy in our house, and taking public transportation can have huge environmental effects. To avoid the 6th mass extinction, which many scientists say may be coming, we should try and do these things and more to help better the environment for future generations.

Our class, taught by Mr. Weiss, is really focused upon learning about issues occurring around the world in the not so distant past, as well as the present. We have touched upon environmental conservation several times, and hopefully we will get to do a more in depth unit on it at some point in the near future.

Also, recently it has come to my attention that an after school club called the Environmental Club has been working to partner with Friends of the Fells, to help assist with cleanups, and other projects. The next event is still in the works, but it could be a cool way for students to interact with the environment around them. I, personally, have been a member of the Environmental Club for the last couple years, and am hopeful that Friends of the Fells and the Environmental Club can orchestrate some sort of deal to allow students another opportunity to help clean-up. To this point the club has focused mainly on trash pickup around the school, and learning about different ways to help proWHS clean-up2tect the environment. 

These are the main two ways, currently, that students from WHS interact with the Friends of the Fells organization, but there are several other classes, such as environmental science and marine biology, that do help teach about conserving and protecting the environment. These are good to a lesser degree, but they don’t provide hands-on opportunities to clean up the world in which we live.

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Winchester Student photo credit: Lauren Winterer