Monday, April 11, 2016

Eager Beavers of Connecticut College’s Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment

This week's post is written by Jessica Sullivan, a student at Connecticut College. Beth Sullivan (no relation) returns next week.

By Jessica Sullivan
As a sophomore at Connecticut College and one of the newest members of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment (GNCE), I am incredibly excited about the opportunity I have to become more educated about and more involved with Avalonia Land Conservancy. This will be the fourth year that Goodwin-Niering students will be involved with Avalonia, and that is so great because our connection with the organization promotes the core value of Goodwin-Niering that is environmental stewardship. At the beginning of this spring semester, the sophomores of the Center had the opportunity to meet with some of the lovely ladies who help make Avalonia so great. It was inspirational to hear how much good can be done by volunteers who are motivated not by money, but by their passion for the environment and the preservation of nature that makes our world so beautiful. It is amazing how much they do with Avalonia, and hearing about the history of Avalonia gives me hope for the future of land conservation.
A room full of eager environmentally-minded GNCE scholars discuss important issues.

Avalonia preserves habitats for wildlife and also for aesthetics. 

Open House

Having just had the Goodwin-Niering Spring Open House, it was very exciting to hear about the environmentally focused projects that our seniors have completed or are completing this semester, ranging in topic from vegetarianism to the sustainability of the automobile industry and everything in between. It was also great to see the first year students already so invested in environmental preservation. However, as a sophomore, I still have two years until I will complete my own Senior Integrative Project. Still, that does not mean that I will not be involved with varying projects focused around the GNCE. Over the course of the next two months, the sophomore members of Goodwin-Niering will complete service projects for Avalonia. We are all very excited to be able to work with such a great organization. Personally, my project revolves around Avalonia’s blog and their social media accounts. In an age where the use of technology is so prevalent, I think that it is crucial that Avalonia keeps up with their social media presence, including Facebook, Instagram, and, of course, this blog: AvaloniaETrails. For the next month or so, I will be writing blog posts that cover the projects that the sophomores of Goodwin-Niering are working very hard to complete. These projects range from site work days on Avalonia preserves to educational school programs. Each sophomore is so excited to help Avalonia in some special way, because we are all so very much invested in environmental protection.
Senior GNCE scholars discuss the environmentally-focused projects they have completed.

These GNCE sophomores will be completing Avalonia service projects this semester.

Scholars Meeting

Every Thursday night, all the Goodwin-Niering scholars meet for a seminar where we discuss important environmental issues. The theme of this semester’s seminar is Environmental Aesthetics. I think that this theme coordinates very well with our work with Avalonia because although I have not been to an Avalonia site (yet!!) I have seen pictures that highlight the incredible beauty of nature. However, it is wonderful that Avalonia conserves land for not only aesthetic purposes, but also because they quite simply see an inherent value in nature. This is a subject that has come up a lot in our seminar which goes to show that there is a multitude of reasons that we should protect the environment. However, no matter what reason we choose to believe is the most important reason to promote environmental conservation, whether aesthetic or not, the point stands that nature must be protected.
A recent Thursday night seminar focused on the connection between nature and aesthetics.

Participating in work parties on Avalonia preserves provides energy and hands-on experience. 

Photographs by Beth Sullivan and Jessica Sullivan.

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