NMU Academic Service Learning Project
Throughout the fall of 2012, a class of English Composition students from Northern Michigan University engaged the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve through an Academic Service Learning Project. With their professor, Rochelle Dale, the students worked on essays revolving around the idea of wilderness preservation. To help get their ideas started, the YDWP provided the necessary background information. YDWP took the group of students out into the field and showed them firsthand what the idea of preservation is all about. The group traveled to a spot along the Yellow Dog River, near the Bushy Creek Falls, and talked with YDWP’s Executive Director, Emily Whittaker. Whittaker explained to the students that wilderness has many benefits to people, animals, and plants. Not only is it good for protecting the natural resources, but it plays a long standing role in our society. There are economic, social, educational, and artistic benefits the people gain from setting aside areas that will not be harmed by overuse/misuse. The students soaked in the experience, listening to the rush of the waterfall and seeing the vibrant ecosystem.
Two weeks later, YDWP staff came to the classroom and talked more indepth about the ecological and societal values of wilderness. Students then chose an aspect of wilderness preservation to expound upon. They did some additional research and wrote essays to convey what they learned. For example, one pair of students decided to focus in on how protected areas impact the surrounding communities. “Approximately twelve million people nationwide visit different recreational areas on a weekly basis,” states authors Amanda Harrington and Caleb Salo. Also, some students took a different approach and came up with arguments against wilderness protection.
Professor Rochelle Dale has supplied YDWP with all of the finished essays for us to share with our supporters. Along with the essays, some students used video as their method to portray what they learned. Students Justin Lemmen and Nick Everse provided a video with footage of the river and the trout that dwell in the cold, clean water. Another student, Jacquelin Lough, provided a painting to illustrate the beauty of the river. Below you can click on any essay (organized by authors) to read it. To access the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlqFXhfOqJk