UMass Dartmouth Endeavor Scholar and nursing major Elsa McGilvray ’17, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has collaborated with students at Our Sisters’ School in New Bedford to establish a local Roots & Shoots chapter. The group is working on revitalizing the school’s garden and constructing two composting systems made of almost completely recyclable materials. The compost bins will ideally produce enough compost to add nutrients to the school gardens as well as producing enough to donate to the gardens within the community.
The Roots & Shoots chapter includes Our Sisters’ School sixth graders Emma Cranford and Felicia Soares, and fifth grader Jaliyah Desroches. Our Sisters’ School Science Teacher Jocelyn L. Mitchell is also serving as an advisor to the group. The local chapter received a mini-grant from Roots & Shoots organization for the project. The group also received a grant from The Garden Club of Buzzards Bay.
“The idea behind our effort is to encourage students to think globally and act locally,” Elsa said. “The students at Our Sisters’ School have recognized that they have the ability to reduce the amount of food waste at the school and educate their peers about its many benefits. Our goals and weekly activities show care and concern for the environment, and also the New Bedford community.”
The project aims to further increase the fertility and output of the schools three garden platforms containing edible and decorative plants, while also attending to the schools compostable waste. The group hopes this will address environmental issues and also contribute to the human environment.
“Our wish for this project is to guide young people in taking action on the issues that they feel are important within the school community,” said Ms. Mitchell, who also serves as Volunteer Coodinator at Our Sisters’ School. “It will teach students the importance of clean energy and the importance of recycling, as well as, the ecological concepts of involved in the composting process.”
Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the youth-led community action and learning program of the Jane Goodall Institute. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people. Through the program, young people map their community to identify specific challenges their neighborhoods face. From there, they prioritize the problems, develop a plan for a solution, and take action all while developing the skills and attitudes to become part of the next generation of Dr. Jane Goodalls.
Endeavor Scholarships are awarded each year to UMass Dartmouth students based on academic achievement, leadership experience, and dedication to community service. The evening will include presentations by Endeavor Leadership Scholars and portfolio reviews showcasing how UMass Dartmouth Endeavors are changing the world.