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Students raise conservation awareness

Alyssa Lamberton, Life Writer
April 24, 2013
Filed under Life

As college students, it’s easy to get caught up in busy lives. Because of this, many are unable to recognize issues that surround us on a daily basis.

A group of students will address some of these issues through a presentation on whale conservation April 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the Christie Theatre.

Patrick Forsythe, assistant professor of natural and applied sciences, assigned the group this project for their class, Issues of Biological Conservation.

Forsythe hopes the projects will have deep impacts on the students, as well as others involved.

“The idea behind the project is while we’re talking about all of these things that are going on in the world around us, let’s go out and make a difference to yourself and come up with something in the local community where you feel like you could have an impact as a group,” Forsythe said.

Ideally, Forsythe would like his students to go out and make a measurable impact.

The students have the majority of the semester to create and report on a project involving any aspect of biological resources conservation, according to Forsythe.

Alyssa Augustyn, senior human development major, and Zach Ruiz, senior studio art major, are two of the four group members running the whale conservation project.

According to Augustyn, they hope to bring awareness to students of the importance of the whale community.

“It’s starting to become a serious issue,” Augustyn said. “(This project is) bringing more awareness and understanding of the importance of whales in the ecosystem.”

The event will begin with a PowerPoint presentation and discussion on their topic, followed by the showing of the movie “Whale Rider.”

Pamphlets will also be handed out, covering main points such as why whales are endangered and why they are important to Wisconsin.

During the event, a bake sale will be held outside the Christie Theatre to raise money for a whale conservation group.

Overall, Augustyn hopes the presentation will help students recognize issues outside of their immediate community.

“I’m hoping students get more of an appreciation for the natural environment and things that are going on in the world other than what’s right in front of them,” Augustyn said. “They may not be aware of the whales directly, but I’m hoping that this will influence them to pay more attention.”

Even if students are unable to attend the event, Ruiz still encourages them to do small things to be more environmentally friendly, such as recycling.

In addition to this presentation, other students from the class are putting together projects such as creating children’s books on endangered species, educating children about the importance of conserving wildlife and conducting on-campus clean-up events.

No matter what the project is, Forsythe has similar expectations for each group.

“The number one thing is that they can make a difference if they really want to,” Forsythe said. “If they put their minds to something and they do something in a coordinated way, they can do something and they can measure it. They can have an impact.”