Students Push For Environmental Education

 Ms. Lauren Kovacik

The thought of Advanced Placement classrooms brings images of stressed-out students hunched over their work, but that’s not always the case. 

The new AP environmental science class will allow students to access to curriculum that engages students in scientific learning that is directly related to environmental issues they care about.  

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The new course offering was student-driven, and many have already expressed interest in taking the course. The Enact club has been working diligently for months to offer the new course here at CVU. Just this past week, the course was approved and is on the books for next year, according to Katie Antos-Ketchum, the EnAct Faculty Advisor. 

Sophie Dauerman, a leader in EnAct and a senior, explains that Enact specifically focuses on improving our school’s impact on the environment, sustainability, and educating its members about the climate. 

Dauerman was one of the students who spoke to the curriculum clearinghouse before winter break in December. This committee is a group of CVU educators that discuss and approve proposals for new courses.

Dauerman has been a member of Enact since she was a ninth-grader, and has worked hard over the years to promote climate activism at CVU. Dauerman believes that the new AP is a necessary addition to the CVU, stating she “would have loved the opportunity to take this class” if it had been offered during her time in CVU. 

The students of Enact have been a driving force behind the changes to CVU’s curriculum, bringing their demands to the administration, and surveying students to gauge interest in the course. 

Enact members say there has been a demand for new, accessible science courses. In September 2019, Enact made it their goal to increase the climate curriculum here at CVU. They created and distributed cards for teachers to sign, pledging to “teach climate” in some form during the school year. 

Enact didn’t stop there. Enact introduced a new course at CVU, an AP class that will engage students who are interested in our environment and environmental science. The AP Environmental Science class will “require pre-requisites of ninth-grade science and tenth-grade integrated bio, which can be taken alongside yearlong chemistry.” According to Katie Antos-Ketcham, the faculty advisor of the club. 

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Enact also successfully pushed for a re-vamp of some existing science courses; Weather and Climate and Environmental Lit, which Enact hopes to push for more sections of. 

Prior to this discussion with the committee, Dauerman and Enact created a large visual poster that was brought to other clubs and 10th graders, who is the population of students that Enact believes, “would be the most impacted by the changes to CVU’s curriculum.” The tenth graders themselves expressed interest in the new AP. 

Lindsay Beer, a tenth grader, said that she, “would definitely be interested in taking the new AP Environmental Science class because she likes science and is interested in the topic.” 

But what is the “why” of this course, why did Enact work so hard to get it passed into CVU’s curriculum?

Dauerman states that “the new AP will be more accessible for students than the current AP science offerings.” Dauerman went on to say that the new AP, “provides students a way to learn about the environment, and how we impact it.”

The overall purpose of the course is to educate students on the changing climate “in a more formal classroom setting,” Dauerman stated. 

Enact is known for its “Stall News”, and also held a climate strike earlier this year, in coordination with the worldwide “Friday’s for Future” movement, started by another young student activist, Greta Thunberg. 

Enact is a very popular club at CVU, with dozens of people on their email list. They meet at 7:45 am every Wednesday.