(June 6, 2012) -- The fourth-grade class of Eva Dominguez can tell you all about biomes and tree rings. They can even tell you what sustainability is and why it's important. The Lackland City Elementary class just wrapped up a yearlong series of science lessons, brought to their classroom by UTSA undergraduates and graduate students in environmental science.
The program, dubbed Educating Youth in Ecology (or EYE), comes at a critical time when district budgets are tight and field trip money is at a minimum. It is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S.D.A Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants program.
"Ninety-four percent of Lackland City's students come from economically disadvantaged homes," said Janis Bush, UTSA director of the environmental science academic programs, associate professor of environmental science and director of the UTSA Teaching and Research in Environmental Ecology (TREE) program.
"We developed the curriculum ourselves with the fourth grade students in mind," Bush said. "A lot of what we taught them was entirely new to them."
For the last five months, 11 UTSA students traveled to Lackland City Elementary each month to teach the bilingual fourth graders about the environment. The UTSA students used a variety of hands-on activities to teach their key topics, which included plant parts and pigments; tree types, sizes and growth; forests; natural resources; conservation and sustainability.
"We talked about the wildlife and about the different biomes of Texas -- the different ecological areas of Texas. Boy, they really got excited talking about all the different birds and mammals and reptiles," said Chad Sundol, who just earned his bachelor's degree in biology at UTSA.
The same day, Anna Boeck, a UTSA doctoral student in engineering and environmental science, brought speakers to the classroom and played the sound of a leopard frog to engage the kids.
Over the course of the semester, the class read and discussed "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss, planted honey mesquite tree seeds and measured their seedlings.
"I can't say enough about how rewarding this has been for us to see them so excited about us coming and excited about learning," said UTSA alumna Jennifer Guerrero, who just completed her master's degree in environmental science and will begin her doctoral studies in cell and molecular biology at UTSA this fall. "Hopefully, we're getting them thinking about a university education now. That's another goal. It's a lot of hard work, but we do have fun."
UTSA will take the EYE program back to Lackland City Elementary this fall.
The winners of the competition held in December perform instrumental concertos and selections from operas accompanied by the orchestra. Tickets are $5. Each UTSA student with ID get one free ticket.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The College of Engineering invites you to the Tech Symposium showcasing innovative student projects & research performed across multiple disciplines. The symposium will not only include work in engineering, but also advances achieved in business and science.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The Historical Trumpets and Flutes are premier chamber ensembles within the US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. actively serving their community and official military ceremonies will perform at UTSA. The concert is free and open to the public.
Arts Building, Band Rehearsal Hall (ARTS 2.03.20), Main Campus
Please join us for a free research symposium of nationally renowned scholars who will share their insights on 21st century educational policies and the climate they foster for today's schools, teachers and students.
Durango Building, Southwest Room (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus
The unofficial Fiesta event is an alcohol-free party that's a favorite among the UTSA community and San Antonio families. There will be free food, live music and other activities. Students will also be able to test out texting and driving and drunk driving simulators.
Paseo, Main Campus
United to Serve is a System-wide volunteer initiative involving UT System students, administrators, faculty and staff. Join fellow Roadrunner volunteers for this kickoff event prior to volunteering.
University Center Lawn, Main Campus
UTSA Music Biz Day is an annual music symposium for the San Antonio community and students to network with music professionals and learn about how to get involved in the industry independent of experience. The event is free and open to all.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The Policy Studies Center is hosting its first statewide Latino Policy Symposium to address public policies that contribute to the well-being of Latino families. The theme is Path to Power and Prosperity. This working summit provides an opportunity for public agencies, non-profits to review the impact of local and state policies targeting education, labor/employment/housing, and health and human services.
Buena Vista Street Building, Meeting Assembly Room (BVB 1.338), Downtown Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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