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Fund for Teachers Journey: From Reefs to the Great Lakes

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    Sarah Norris

Simon Farrell teaches at Tapestry Charter Schoolin Buffalo, NY (an EL Education Credentialed School). He was among the 2017 class of EL Education's Fund for Teachers (FFT) Fellows. Read more about FFT and what this long partnership has meant for EL Education here

What did he set out to do?

Observe efforts in Belize to preserve and protect the Meso-American Barrier Reef System and its marine diversity as a case study for learning on climate change and how local communities can steward and preserve aquatic resources of The Great Lakes.

Reflections from Simon:

Experiencing first-hand the dedication of conservationists and diving on the reef they work to conserve has grown my understanding of the threats the ecosystem faces and the steps that can preserve it. I improved my skills as a scuba diver, and also gained insight into how community leaders with motivation can make a meaningful difference. Having the guidance and resources available through organizations like the UN is important, but it is the people who are the true agents of change.

The Great Lakes region faces many threats from pollution to invasive species of plants and animals, and we are going to investigate several of them and decide upon which one we wish to impact. The goal of all of our work is going to be the implementation of a preservation project. We will share what we have learned, educate others about the threat, and offer steps towards a greater protection of our natural resources. Ideally, our plan will have a sustained impact.

I learned through my experience that the UN funds projects that have: Strategic impact, Sustainability, and Scalability. I am going to use this paradigm with my students as we investigate local projects and develop an initiative to preserve and protect The Great Lakes’ ecosystem. I have realized that the desire to be an agent of change must arise from an internal motivation, and I plan to ignite that desire in my students. Our celebration will be the launch of our own initiative.

Simon Un

Read much more about Simon’s experiences here.


Teachers: ready to think about your own funded learning adventure? Learn more about the Fund for Teachers application here!