Helen Yang, 2015, English

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in an internship that was created through the collaboration between Program in Teacher Preparation and PEI. Our primary goal was to bridge communication and experiential learning about conservation and the environment between the Kenyan and American classrooms. For six weeks, we observed classrooms of Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs. It was fascinating to learn the culture of environmental conservation in Kenya, especially because the natural landscape is so rich in biodiversity. How the Kenyan people viewed what we call “environmental stewardship,” if and how these concepts were taught in communities, and the relationship the people had with natural resources lent a new light to my own knowledge and perception of environmental policymaking, especially as a global effort. For another four weeks, we returned to the United States to create a curriculum that could capture the Kenyan classroom experience, but also could be widely accessible and relevant to American students and teachers. During this time, I was able to learn and better grasp what being a teacher entailed, and how to create lesson plans that could engage and motivate students. This internship helped me think about my thesis because it opened my perspective on what it means to interpret nature and environmental stewardship through different cultures.