Students Observe Environmental Issues Facing the Wekiva River System

November 10, 2009

Group Tree

Photo By: Holt student Jose Ayala. Students in the
“Environmental Crisis in its Cultural Context” course,
along with their friends and family, pose under a 2,100
year-old cypress tree near the Little Wekiva River.

Many environmental issues affect our planet today. Such as— climate change, global warming and loss of biodiversity. In order to better develop their understanding of such issues, twenty Rollins students recently embarked on a field trip to the Little Wekiva River. The group, which also included students’ friends and family members, was led by Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies Leslie Poole.

After spending nearly an entire semester studying endangered species, the loss of biodiversity and the misuse of natural resources, students from the course, “Environmental Crisis in its Cultural Context”, were finally able to compare their classroom knowledge to real-world experience.

The destination was a privately owned property along the Little Wekiva River, which is regularly visited by an array of wildlife, including birds of prey, snakes, and bears. Throughout the tour of the property, property owner Julie Fisher described the joys and complications associated with living near wildlife as the group discussed the problems that arise when urbanization encroaches on areas filled with wildlife and plant life.

Along for the trip was award-winning environmental author Bill Belleville. After discussing how the Wekiva River system is one of the most beloved and protected river systems in Florida, he highlighted many of the problems it faces (such as pollution, runoff and traffic) due to advancing development in the area.

This one-day field trip allowed students to further develop their understanding of how global environmental issues directly impact local ecosystems. It provided the opportunity for students to witness first-hand the impact that urbanization and development have on the environment.

“Learning about the natural world and its beauty and threats is an important component to becoming a better citizen. Through environmental classes and field trips such as these, Rollins can help students understand the issues that will continue to confront them on a local, state, national – even international – level and be equipped to participate in their solutions,” said Poole.

-Brittany Fornof (Class of 2011)

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