June 6, 2019
In early May, Nelson Institute students participating in the Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP) assisted with a controlled burn at Goose Pond in Arlington, Wisconsin. The event was a part of junior Calla Norris’ efforts to organize an environment-based team building activity for her fellow CESP members.
A three-semester program designed for students who want to link their passion for the environment with a commitment to the community, CESP is a scholarship program that offers students the opportunity to explore topics such as environmental justice, food scarcity and policy, wildlife conservation and transportation equity. As a part of the program students are also expected to engage in a service-learning project with a community-based environmental organization as a part of the curriculum. Norris’ community service project involved Goose Pond, a place she wanted to share with her cohort.
“I’ve always loved Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus and the idea of going on amazing field trips, so I decided to invite everyone out to Goose Pond,” Norris said. “The pond is usually short staffed so I thought we could help with planting trees. But, on the day of our trip it was a perfect day for a burn so I asked [Goose Pond Land Steward] Graham Steinhauer about it and he quickly got a DNR permit so we could do a controlled burn. It was the first burn for most of us so it was exciting to be a part of that.”
Controlled burns are an important part of forest and prairie management as they help to control invasive plants. For Norris and her cohort, this experience offered a new learning opportunity and a chance to educate others about the importance of proper land management.
“I would encourage everyone to visit Goose Pond. It’s become one of my favorite places,” Norris said. “There’s so much to explore there and they always need volunteers. I would also encourage everyone to sign up for CESP.”
The event included CESP members and Nelson Institute students Andrew Dobbins, Justine Mischka, Theresa Nepomuceno, Calla Norris, Steven Touney, and Carly Winner.
Photos courtesy of Steven Touney
The scholarships awarded to CESP students are in part funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, NSF DUE #1643946.