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Fall 2012
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CALS Notes

Plantations Pilot Program Aims to Cure ‘Plant Blindness’

Plantations Pilot Program Aims to Cure ‘Plant Blindness’
Photo: Jason Koski/University Photo

Do you have “plant blindness,” seeing landscape greenery as just background and decor? A summer pilot program, Plantations Environmental Education Program for Sustainability (PEEPS), gave high school students an appreciation of their integral role in our ecology and community.

“Our goal is to engage local high school students in a participation-based program that will raise ecological awareness and teach skills that will cultivate an environmental ethic for future actions,” said Donna Levy ‘81, environmental education outreach coordinator at Cornell Plantations. “My sense is that we are asking young people to save the environment, when they may not even be sure what they’re saving. Environmental appreciation, I think, is quite appropriate.”

The six-week summer program continues through fall as students explore pressing environmental issues through the lens of an on-site project: a sustainable backyard demonstration garden.

“The backyard can be thought of as a metaphor for your lifestyle,” Levy said. “What do you do in your backyard? And, so, how does that impact the environment? And how does what you do in your life—or your backyard—connect you to your community?”