Nature on Campus


Since Spring 2013, my evening EN219: Reading and Writing about New York class has been doing a service learning project for the Nature on Campus blog, run by Eugene Harris of the Biology department and members of the Bayside community. The Nature on Campus blog documents the flora and fauna on and near Queensborough, particularly the ecosystems of Oakland Lake, a natural kettle pond steps away from campus on Cloverdale Ave. The philosophy of service learning is that both partners give and receive: Eugene and his colleague, community volunteer Phil Duckett, guide my students around the lake, sharing their expertise, and the photos my students take and essays they later write are submitted to Eugene as content for the blog.


I find that service learning projects create a memorable and gratifying experience for my students. I have been doing service learning since 2007: conversation partners for the Literacy Program (through Continuing Education); oral history interviews with CLIP students; creating ads in Korean/Hindi/Spanish/Chinese for the Bayside Senior Center; writing content for a National Audobon Society newsletter; and now this Nature on Campus Blog project with Eugene Harris. Much thanks to Eugene and Phil and to Jo Pantaleo, Director of Service Learning at Queensborough, and Mary Baduzikias who works in the SL office.


The campus Office of Service Learning can help connect you to a community or on-campus partner and you can tailor your project to practically any English course. Jo, Mary, and their colleagues Arlene Kememmer and Cris DiMeo are very helpful. Coordination is easiest with an on-campus partner but yet it’s a worthy experience for students to get off campus–even if it’s just down the hill to beautiful Oakland Lake.


Dr. Beth Counihan

Example of a Service Learning Project

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