1. Beatriz Canas
  2. Program Manager Science Career Continuum
  4. Chicago Botanic Garden
  1. Julie Steffens
  2. Development Officer
  4. Chicago Botanic Garden

Science First and College First: Connecting Chicago’s Youth to Local Environm...


2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Beginning January 1, 2018, the Chicago Botanic Garden commenced work on an environmental education curriculum, funded by an award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The Chicago Botanic Garden Science Career Continuum along with five Chicago community organizations and an experienced, Chicago-based curriculum writer, are in the process of creating and implementing curricula for the Science First II and College First programs. The programs focus on encouraging and supporting underrepresented students in the STEM fields.  Students conduct hands-on scientific exploration and fieldwork exploring local environmental challenges related to air and water quality, toxic materials, green space, and climate change. After learning about these topics, students engage in community education days facilitated by the partner organizations, solidifying their knowledge and empowering them as experts.

The goal of the project is to contextualize science within communities familiar to students, making them aware of environmental issues that impact them. Further, the project sheds light on environmental hazards, which disproportionately affect communities of color, especially those that are also low-income. 

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