A group of Fordham’s Global Outreach (GO!) students teamed up with a local community from a rural province in Brazil to learn about deforestation and promote food sustainability.
The trip was part of GO’s program in the small Brazilian town of Colinas do Tocantins. In late May and early June, eight Fordham students and chaperone Ann Marie Boccuzzi, assistant director for alumni relations, worked with locals to start a community garden near the Sao Sebatiao Church where they stayed.
The trip gave Boccuzzi, GABELLI ’10, a former GO! executive board member, a chance to apply her Jesuit education to “help students immerse themselves in a new culture while also facing challenging social justice issues.”
Fordham kicked off its involvement with a tree advocacy group on April 17 with the planting of a four-year-old pin oak tree just south of Keating Hall on the Rose Hill campus.
The 15-foot high, 800-pound tree was one of several dozen American Elms, Red Maples, Northern Red Oaks and Japanese Maples being grown in a former orchard at the Louis Calder Center in Armonk. Many perished as a result of the high winds and heavy rains of Hurricane Sandy. But several pin oaks survived, and this one was transported to the Bronx campus to take up a new home.
This collaboration engages teens with one of the most pressing issues of science and civic consequence of our time – urban ecology, a sub-field of ecology that examines the interaction between humans and ecosystems in urbanized environments. High school students are conducting research, guided by a WCS instructor, graduate student, and a professor from Fordham. The participants are disseminate their discoveries through a blog and a series of symposiums. The results of their research will provide scientific evidence that policy makers could potentially use in making decisions about local land use and other issues. Participating students will be better informed to make responsible environmental choices while learning important science skills.
It may seem unlikely that a small group of college students could change the future of the world, but that is exactly what Fordham Divest is seeking to do through its effort to get the University to end its investment in fossil fuel companies. “I think the biggest issue is climate change and the fact that by burning fossil fuels, the planet has already warmed 0.8 degrees Celsius,” Valerie Meyer, FCRH ’15 and Fordham Divest’s director for media and students, said when describing the organization’s rationale. “If we continue with this, scientists have said that by midcentury, so 2050, the planet will warm two to three additional degrees Celsius, and this will cause more severe storms, droughts and floods, which is just really bad for the planet.”