Monday, April 20, 2015

The Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment Takes on Third Year of Collaboration with Avalonia

By Julia Serafin and Marissa Gildea

We are excited to announce that this is the third year that the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment from Connecticut College is working with Avalonia!  For these past couple of years, our center has been involved with a wide variety of projects that have ranged from hands on work at the preserves to others that have documented the history and expanded Avalonia’s social network. GNCE is one of five interdisciplinary certificate programs at Connecticut College that bring together both students and faculty fostering an environment of ecological discussion and research.  We are very fortunate to be able to develop individual projects alongside Avalonia’s staff, learn about project management in a real world setting, and ultimately work towards a common goal of bettering the environment.

2017 Class of Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment. Photograph by Glenn Dreyer. 

After learning about Avalonia and meeting with its staff in the classroom, these ten hardworking and passionate Goodwin-Niering sophomores are excited to visit the Avalonia preserves this month! Read on to discover the students and the projects which they are pursuing.

Meet the team of Sarah Spound, Mei Reffsin, and April Zhao! Sarah is an environmental studies major, art and math minor, Mei is an art major, and April is a double major in environmental studies and economics.  This group has immersed themselves these last couple of weeks in creating a personal brochure for Avalonia in hopes of reaching out to the people of southeastern Connecticut and tourists alike.  Be sure to keep and eye out for these brochures filled with photos, information, and more on Avalonia!

This is the dynamic duo of Moriah McKenna and Nako Kobayashi!  Moriah is double majoring in biology and anthropology with a concentration in archaeology.  Nako is also an anthropology major with environmental studies and French minors.  These two ladies have been taking on the role of documenting the history of certain preserves for Avalonia.  Specifically, they are interested in furthering their research on the Peqotsepos Brook Preserve in Stonington.  What did this preserve used to be and how did Avalonia gain this land?  Find out more on their write up of this historical and beautiful preserve!

Photograph by Julia Serafin.

Next up is the environmental studies major Nikki! Digitalizing Avalonia archives and compiling oral histories compose her plan to build something for Avalonia to pass down. Hopefully, with help from her book-making class, she will construct a bound book or journal for Avalonia with room for extra pages. Therefore, people can keep adding pages and information into the book/journal. Nikki’s stamp on Avalonia will last throughout future generations online and in person.

Say hello to Katie and Lana! A computer science and English double major with a philosophy minor and a theater major, these two are crafting an outreach project for younger children through art. They plan to take students in Pre-K to elementary school grades on a guided hike at one of Avalonia’s preserves. After collecting nature items on the hike, Katie and Lana will help youngsters assemble found items into an art piece. Hopefully, Avalonia can use this activity as a lesson plan geared toward involving a younger age group in the land preservation process and environmental issues.

Photograph by Kelsey Fischer.

Julia and Marissa are busy writing current and exciting blogs (like this one!). In addition to producing blog content, the students are creating an Instagram account for Avalonia in order for pristine preserve pictures to be shared on another social media platform. Be sure to check out the Instagram – AvaloniaLandConservancy. Finally, Julia, an economics major, and Marissa, a behavioral neuroscience major, organized a work day on Knox Preserve to help clean up the property and to show other Conn Coll students Avalonia. Overall, they hope to increase knowledge of Avalonia and the importance of land preservation. Stay tuned for future blog posts to follow the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment’s and Avalonia’s collaboration!

Photographs by Marissa Gildea unless otherwise indicated.

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