APES students get involved in environment

Sophomore+Emily+Kresin+works+hands-on+at+Hawaii+Volcanoes+National+Park.

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Sophomore Emily Kresin works hands-on at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Erin Pickert, Feature Editor

As the school year began, students entered new classrooms with typed and printed summer assignments in hand in preparation for their advanced courses. AP Environmental Science students, however, entered science teacher Kylee Sharp’s classroom with new experiences rather than papers.

APES students were assigned to make environmentally friendly decisions in order to interact with the outdoors and reflect on their experiences. The assignment suggested spending a day outdoors, shopping plastic-free for a week, trying a vegetarian diet and many other green activities. Students were encouraged to try any of these environmentally friendly tasks and be ready to discuss. 

“I thought the summer challenge would be fun for people because they could could pick things that they were passionate about and things that they were interested in,” Sharp said. “It also gets people to start thinking about how they interact with the world and what kinds of consequences their choices have. I was just hoping it would be something really fun.” 

As students travelled on trips during the summer vacation, they were able to bring the summer challenge with them.

Junior Emily Kresin actively helped the environment far away from home.

“I went to Hawaii for a family vacation and as part of the program that we did, we got to help cut out an invasive species in Hawaii Volcano’s National Park through the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park,” Kresin said.

Senior Mason Ericson also completed the summer challenge in a distant location. 

  I spent some time outdoors doing some kayaking and fishing. I also went on a 73.5 mile backpacking trip in the mountains of New Mexico. We did some service projects out there with some forest clearing to help prevent forest fires,” Ericson said.

The summer challenge was additionally able to be completed on a more basic level from student’s homes in De Soto. 

“I also, on the regular, used glass straws instead of plastic straws. I have my own plastic bag,” Kresin said. “And then, over the summer I bought bamboo cotton pads to use for makeup removers instead of tissues.”

The assignment was created for students to see how much their actions can affect the environment both on a small and large scale. The assignment also grew excitement among students to learn more about the world around them.

“I already find plastic pollution and stuff like that really interesting so [I’m excited for] just learning different aspects of that,” Kresin said. “I also did a project through 4-H and Science Matters about water quality, which is also a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.”

Students have expressed how excited they are to learn about a valuable topic and how they can change their current lifestyles to live a more environmentally friendly life.

“I think it’s so important because it’s so relevant. We are all very familiar with a lot of the issues that are facing us, and it’s going to be our job to come up with solutions. We can come up with solutions, but we need to know the problems so that we know how to fix them,” Sharp said.

As changes in the environment have become a more widely-acknowledged issue across the globe, students have also risen to the challenge.

“It [the environment] pertains to all of us because this is our world. We have to study it and figure out what works best for the environment, and how we can protect it and the best way to do so,” Kresin said.

As a new group of students enter APES, students continue to encourage others to follow in their steps.

“I think it’s important for people to know about the world around them and what they can do to make it a better place,” Ericson said.

Student’s experiences have been showcased and can be viewed under the Instagram profile @dhsapes.