EPA Region 3
Topic: Student Environmental Development Program 2010 DC & W.Va. Trip
Date: September 14 , 2010
Trey: “Ha-ha-ha, my worst enemy the Ozone Layer is dying! It's a code red day. Fry, fry, fry, sunburn!” <laughing>
Host: “That was Trey from D.C., one of the students in the Environmental Protection Agency's Student Environmental Development Program giving a presentation about sun safety. Hi, I'm Lena Kim, and welcome to Environment Matters, our series of podcasts. On August 10, middle school students in EPA's 2010 Student Environmental Development Program presented thoughtful and amusing skits at EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Terez, from Philadelphia, said she was nervous at first, but the experience was worth it.
Terez: “Once you got up there and went with the flow it was real fun and easy. I learned a lot from different subjects like lead, and I learned a lot about endangered animals—things I didn't know. That really helped me learn how to protect the environment a little bit more.”
Host: Before presenting at Headquarters, students took public speaking and leadership classes. Uchechi from Washington, D.C. is happy about his improved communication skills.
Uchechi: “At first, I was really quiet with my public speaking, and I always talked very fast. But I started to slow down as I became more comfortable and more familiar with my skit.”
Host: “Groups of four to six students prepared and presented each skit. Each group was assigned a high school or college-aged mentor. Ulises, a first-year mentor, helped lead one of the groups in the D.C. program.”
Ulises: “We started out all the kids were shy and nervous about everything. Then, it was great to see how everybody started mixing, everybody started laughing together. And as a mentor, personally, I got to see how to coordinate, how to be a better leader, how to manage big groups. It's just been amazing.”
Host: “To prepare for their presentations, the students took a field trip to the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. There they practiced their skits and toured the wonderful Fish and Wildlife Service training facility. Through this experience, Jonathan and Pam from Baltimore learned more about nature and the environment.”
Jonathan: “There are a lot of things I didn't really know about like West Virginia. I didn't know that they had so much invasive species like I saw a lot of stinkbugs. It was a nice place, and I see how other people and other programs try to help the environment.”
Pam: “In nature, we had to learn to basically deal with sometimes the fact that bathrooms weren't always available, with using bug spray and sunscreen, and all kinds of stuff that we don't always get in the city.”
Host: “After returning from Shepherdstown and D.C., the students concluded the summer program by performing their skits one more time at the graduation ceremony.
The Student Environmental Development Program is run by the EPA's mid-Atlantic regional office in Philadelphia. Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin explains why this annual program is important for the agency.”
Shawn: “The Student Environmental Development Program, or SEDP, is a highly successful environmental education and leadership program. Many people look at this program as developing the next stewards of the environment. But what I've learned from these talented students is that they are already stewards of the environment, and the SEDP program gives them additional tools. They don't just focus on the environment. There is a strong emphasis on developing leadership skills, cultural awareness, public speaking, teamwork, civic responsibility, job skills, life skills, and critical thinking. Hopefully one day a student from the SEDP program will be regional administrator here in Philadelphia.”
Host: “It's inspiring to see the students become more environmentally aware and hone their leadership skills each summer. If you would like to learn more about EPA's summer youth program, please see our website at www.epa.gov/region3/ee, and click on "Student Environmental Development Program." And thanks for joining us on Environment Matters, our series of podcasts.”