The Parks and People Initiative which is working to increase resident’s awareness of the natural world in Springfield’s South End Neighborhood through the efforts of several ECO faculty members. The effort was recently featured on a Northeast Public Radio segment, and included an interview with ECO faculty member and US Forest Service scientist Dave Bloniarz. The story can be found at www.wamc.org/post/city-summer-lessons-birds-and-trees David is working with ECO faculty members and Forest Service scientists Susannah Lerman and Keith Nislow, who received a small grant from the US Forest Service Office of Civil Rights to carry out this outreach effort. The ECO faculty are working with a team of neighborhood activists, community organizations and the C3 policing initiative to collaborate on this initiative, which bring hands on learning to residents of the South End.
A community educational workshop, held earlier in July, was attended by over 75 neighborhood residents who were introduced to trees and tree canopy cover by Dave Bloniarz and Lauren Bullard, a recent Sustainability Science masters graduate and Zac Prattson, a Regreen Springfield summer intern. This week, Susannah Lerman will work with graduate student Anthony Ortiz to introduce residents to birds in the city. Two other sessions are planned for August, focusing on water and greenspace mapping. By focusing on resources found in your own neighborhood, you will learn about the makeup of the natural world, its function and the value that it provides to the community. This adventure is a one-year journey that will help you to become more knowledgeable about nature and the city.