Summer Scholars 2001
Students from four middle schools each spent a week at Northern Arizona University (NAU)
involved in the academic environmental education program, Summers Scholars.
Summer Scholars is a weeklong summer program providing Native American students the opportunity
to experience college life, while using university resources, classrooms, computers, and science labs.
A collaborative project between participating schools and the Environmental Education Outreach
Program (EEOP), Summer Scholars increases students' understanding of how science, mathematics,
and technology can be applied to local environmental issues.
Air quality at the Grand Canyon was the focus of this year's Summer Scholars curriculum. Working
in teams, students developed recommendations to improve the visibility at the park. On the last
day of the week-long program students presented their recommendations to environmental professionals
including representatives of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Students made many innovative recommendations. They also prepared web pages to communicate their
recommendations to the public. The student web pages are available at Student Webpages
Composting, vermiculture and recycling waste reduction methods were also employed by Summer Scholars
while they were living on campus. Students collected food waste after every meal to compost and hands-on
activities such as "Shopping For Waste" encouraged students to evaluate the packaging of products they purchase.
Tours of the Cholla Power Plant, NAU's Ft. Valley Experimental Forest and the Grand Canyon contributed
to students' understanding of air quality. Each trip offered unique opportunities to speak with
technicians, engineers, and scientists about ecology and air monitoring.
Problem Based Learning (PBL), an innovative education method, was employed so students could develop
their own questions, issues, and topics of research. In addition to the field trips, students used
NAU's Cline Library, the Internet, and local environmental professionals as resources to find information
on their issues and questions.
"When you do Problem Based Learning, you give students a problem like visibility at the Grand Canyon,
where there is no simple solution or answer. Working as a group, they list what they know, what they
need to find out, and how and where to find that (information) to isolate their own learning issues.
They then do their own research to propose some kind of solution," said MaryLynn Quartaroli,
Instructional Specialist at EEOP.
Summer Scholars students had some time to relax and play. Students went swimming in Cholla Lake and at
NAU's Wall Aquatic Center, watched the IMAX Theatre presentation on Grand Canyon, climbed the observation
tower at Desert View Grand Canyon, played football and basketball.
For more information about participating in future Summer Scholars programs contact the EEOP Staff.