Heather Spence, Marine Biologist
Orchestrating Coastal Marine Ecology Investigation and Outreach

Heather Spence, Marine Biologist

Schools Connecting for Environmental Conservation – from MEF Newsletter

For the full newsletter, go to www.michellesearth.org
Arlington and Cancun Schools
Connecting for Environmental Conservation
by Heather Spence
As part of my continuing collaborative work with MEF and the National Parks office in Quintana Roo, Mexico, I am expanding a communication exchange project for Arlington and Cancun students. During my presentations to Cancun students over the past two years, they often ask where I grew up, are there coral reefs there, what do students there study? In my presentations to classes at HB Woodlawn, students have similarly been interested in the ecosystems and experiences of students in Cancun. Students from both places have expressed their interest in doing something for their environment. They want to know what they can do to help.

The beginning stage of this project is a video song exchange. The idea came from one particular workshop in Cancun, when we did not have funding or supplies for an art project, so we divided the students into groups, gave each group pencil and paper, and told them write a song about environmental conservation (in this case, specifically Wetlands since that was the theme of the workshop). I filmed their performances, and posted them online so others can see their creativity and enthusiasm. The students were so excited and it was such a popular activity that I expanded it to other groups in Mexico and now to Arlington students as well. After viewing the films of the Cancun students, HB students in a fluent speakers class are the first to create their own video song about local ecosystems. This will soon be shown to Cancun classes (most students there do not have access to a computer outside the classroom). We hope to expand the video exchanges (with translations as necessary) to more classes, grades and schools. Possibly we will be able to host real-time video conferences so that students can discuss environmental issues and solutions. We also want to provide online forums for ongoing communication.

To participate in this effort or for more information, please e-mail me at

info (at) heatherspence (dot) net.

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