Earthwatch Kicks Off Community Lecture Series

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On Tuesday, Oct. 25th Earthwatch — an international nonprofit environmental organization — held its first community lecture in a new fall series hosted at its headquarters. The fall lecture series is funded by the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund.

“Earthwatch has been on the ground less than 18 months and is already giving back to the community,” said special guest Christine Heenan, Vice President of Government Community and Public Affairs. Earthwatch is a Harvard tenant at 114 Western Avenue in Allston.

The kick-off presentation was given by two local Gardner Pilot Academy Teacher Fellows, Eric Meuse and Nhan Bang, who participated this summer on an eight-day Earthwatch Expedition, Songbirds of the Rocky Mountains with support from an anonymous donor.

“You can have science journal articles stacked up really high, but I would argue that it’s getting people involved in science that really makes a difference — especially teachers who translate their experience into action here in our backyard,” said Ed Wilson, president and CEO of Earthwatch.

Meuse and Bang said their experience “in the field” working next to scientists was powerful for them individually and professionally.

“When students would ask me [before my Earthwatch Expedition], ‘What does a scientist really do?’ I had a vague answer,” said Meuse, a Science Specialist for grades 3 to 5. “But now I know.”

Since returning home, the teacher duo spearheaded a “RecycleMania” initiative in their school and within the Allston community. Their first clean-up, held earlier this month, drew close to 50 volunteers. “The amount of waste generated in a public school is mind-blowing,” Muese said, “and this experience made me think about what we can do about it.”

Meuse and Nhan concluded their presentation with a video of a 3rd grade student named Anna, who participated in the clean-up and said, “We have to keep the world clean and no matter what, we’re all in community and can save the world.”

“That’s exactly the kind of ripple effect we hoped to create,” Bang said.

The next lecture will be held Nov. 15th, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Earthwatch Institute.  The topic is the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on loons. See for more information.