This week the GR!S Cohort will be blogging about our expanding scientific community. I have chosen to take this time to introduce you to someone who inspires me in the field of science learning & literacy, one of my significant narrators- Daniel Budmen, and a program he is passionate about-Roots & Shoots!
Daniel studied Geoscience (Focus: Agricultural Meteorology) and Environmental Studies (Focus: Sustainable Community Development) at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Daniel is a compassionate leader who is an advocate for environmentalism and community service. While working with Geneva youth through the Seneca Chapter of Roots & Shoots, Daniel was “inspired by renowned anthropologist Jane Goodall to create a project to increase children’s environmental literacy and knowledge about the ecology of the Finger Lakes” (Hobart and William Smith Colleges). With the support of the Centennial Leadership Fellowship, Daniel began the design and construction of a tree nursery to be built at the Geneva Community Center, while looking back at Geneva’s history for inspiration and understanding.
Daniel’s goal envisioned active student learning and community service: “Lessons in the environment, the history of trees in the Finger Lakes, research on local tree species and a history of Geneva nurseryman, William Smith, will help develop children’s environmental literacy” (Hobart and William Smith Colleges). Geneva in the early 1900s was home to at least a dozen tree nurseries which shipped trees around the continental United States. There was a saying that locals and out-of-staters knew alike, “Where a tree is grown, Geneva is known” (Daniel Budmen, Personal Communication). Most notably, William Smith shipped his trees to Fredrick Law Olmsted when he was designing Central Park in New York City, many of those trees still stand today. By the mid-1900s, industry and residential expansion in Geneva drove all of the nurseries out. For his project, Daniel sought to bring a historical and environmental competence to children who many otherwise not know the rich agricultural history of the region, while aiming to bring environmental and cultural lessons to the group of children. The trees that are now grown by the children of the Seneca Chapter of Roots and Shoots, are planted in the Geneva community and cared for by the children and volunteers of the program.
What is Roots & Shoots?
In 1991 Dr. Jane Goodall founded a youth service program named Roots & Shoots. Today Roots & Shoots remains a grassroots organization, “individual chapters identify local concerns and design projects to address these issues” (Seneca Chapter, Roots & Shoots). The mission of Roots & Shoots aims “to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs, and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, other animals, and the environment” (Roots & Shoots).
“Roots & Shoots empowers young people to become the type of leaders who will make right choices to build a better world. Through the program, youth lead local change through service while developing skills and traits of compassionate leaders” (Roots & Shoots).
Youth involved in the Roots & Shoots program have identified nine qualities that represent a compassionate leader.
These nine traits include:
- Introspective: Examines their beliefs to consider how their actions affect the world around them
- Acts with a Purpose: Makes choices that align with a commitment to have a positive impact on important issues
- Thinks Critically: Explores a topic from all angles before making a well-though-out decision
- Empathetic: Connects to feelings outside their own by viewing concepts through the lens of another
- Collaborates & Communicates Openly: Embraces the inspiration and participation of others by accepting new ideas and perspectives
- A Team Player: Works well in a team and engages their peers by leveraging their unique individual skill sets
- Inspires Peers: Sets a positive example for the people around them
- Hopeful & Optimistic: Stays positive and committed to achieving their goal
- Adaptable & Resilient: Embraces challenges and overcomes setbacks
(Compassionate Leadership, Roots & Shoots)
The Seneca Chapter of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is led by Nan Crystal Arens, Professor of Geoscience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “Seneca Roots & Shoots projects include: Recycling and community clean-up, environmental education, urban habitat for bird and butterflies, and water quality” (Seneca Chapter, Roots & Shoots).
According to the Seneca Chapter, programming is informed by scholars Richard Louv and James W. Gibson. “Louv asserts that many children today suffer from ‘nature deficit disorder’, a lack of exposure to the natural world. He demonstrates that many skills required for success in the academic and social spheres (e.g., working together cooperatively, solving problems, exercising creativity, making decisions, and practicing self-control) develop through unstructured, individual and group play in nature. Nature-play also stimulates all sense and fosters whole body engagement” (Seneca Chapter, Roots & Shoots).
Projects like the greenhouse and programs like Roots & Shoots inspire both environmental science learning and agency for conservation in youth (Ballard et al., 2016). While participating in youth -focused citizen science, Ballard et al. (2016) find that youth develop “connections between their science work, their place, their ecosystem, and the impacts of their own actions on the environment” (p. 73).
When we afford youth the opportunity to participate in authentic science work “the measurement of impact is not whether they gained in those skills and knowledge, but that they were allowed to practice and develop those skill in the context for the purposes of conservation and science work” (Ballard et al. 2016, p. 74).
Interested? Read Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods!
Intrigued? Check out Ballard et al. (2016) Youth-focused citizen science: Examining the role of environmental science learning and agency for conservation!
Inspired? Volunteer with a Roots & Shoots Chapter near you!
Questions? Comment with questions for Daniel about the Greenhouse project or Roots & Shoots below!
- Ballard, H.L., et al. (2016). Youth-Focused Citizen Science: Examining the role of environmental science literacy and agency for conservation. Biological Conservation, 208, 65-75.
- Budmen, Daniel. Personal Communication. 23 June 2017.
- Arens, Nan Crystal. (2014). Roots & Shoots Greenhouse Short. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni3JQ_ezKTs.
- Hobart and William Smith Colleges. (2014). Improving Literacy Times Two. Retrieved from: http://www2.hws.edu/article-id-16579/.
- Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. (2017). About Us. Retrieved from: https://www.rootsandshoots.org/aboutus.
- Seneca Chapter, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. (2017). Learn about us! Retrieved from: http://senecarootsandshoots.org/index.php?id=what-we-do.