Living Classroom Press Release

For Immediate Release:

What: The Living Classroom at UMass Dartmouth
When: April 2010
Contact: Jamie Jacquart, Assistant Director for Campus Sustainability and Residential Initiatives, at 508.999.8880.

Opening Up UMass Dartmouth’s Acreage as a Living Classroom

UMass Dartmouth’s Sustainability Initiative is sharing its plans to turn the campus into a community-building, hands-on learning venture and recreation space for the whole region to experience.

Dubbed the Living Classroom, this concept turns the campus into a massive ecological learning space. Students and public can explore the University’s hundreds of acres of forests, wetlands, ponds, and various ecosystems for recreation and interactive learning. 

The Living Classroom will allow K-12 students, landowners, local residents, and garden professionals to experience the several miles of trails being planned for handicapped-accessible walking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Signage will point out the features of the woodlands and natural habitats, and visitors will discover the diverse animals and plants inhabiting their own backyard. 

The University will make this land accessible for school field trips, guided forest tours, and presentations on conservation, land management, healthy forestry, biodiversity, anthropological preservation, social history, climate change, and other significant sustainable practices.

Much of the campus woods were recently inventoried and enrolled in a Forest Stewardship Plan, which will turn our forest into a regional hub for environmental studies, land management, and conservation.  By showing people our managed forested plots and explaining our goals for them, we’ll teach lessons in sustainability that are easy to grasp on a small scale and make learning much more stimulating for kids.

Available for interviews are:

  1. Susan Jenning – Director of the Office of Campus and Community Sustainability which spearheads this project.
  2. Rob Darst - Political Science professor at UMass Dartmouth.  He has taught several courses focused on sustainability on campus, and is an active participant in the development of academic coursework utilizing the Living Classroom model.
  3. Rupert Grantham - local forester and owner of Walden Forest Conservation.  He has been working with the University to develop a sustainable forest management plan.
  4. Students working in the field as participants in the Living Classroom experience.

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