Students study ecology at environmental retreat

By: Nima Sherpa, Contributing Writer

A group of Towson students gathered at the TU Field Station, adjacent to Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County, for a weekend-long trip designed to introduce students to the area’s ecology through various team-building exercises.

The retreat ran from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, and was coordinated by the Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership.

Campus Recreation led many of the team workshops and activities, which helped to educate students on environmental justice and sustainability issues.

“I think they are really good and it really broke the ice between us,” sophomore Paula Araneda said.

During a morning activity, Department of Environmental Science and Studies Program Director Christopher Salice introduced students to ecology in a nearby stream.

Students examined the biodiversity of the area and discussed how different factors such as water runoff and human pollution affect the level of water conductivity and pH.

They checked water conductivity levels in three different places, one by the stream, one by Gunpowder River and one by a puddle of fresh rain water.

Salice says he is passionate about preserving water.

“I want for it to be around for a long time,” he said.

In another activity, activists from Free Your Voice, a youth-run organization that worked to take down the largest planned trash incinerator in Curtis Bay, Baltimore, gave a presentation on environmental justice and the different powers associated with it.

Towson Sustainability Manager Patricia Watson introduced students to the initiatives that campus has taken to be more sustainable and green.

She also introduced students to the different types of litter produced by campus and discussed students’ biggest impacts on the environment.

“What do you think is the biggest contributor to [our] carbon footprint?” she asked. “How do you want to live? I think that is the bigger question.”

Students from Towson’s “Real Food Challenge” prepared dinner and led a discussion on how to improve on making better food choices.

“Food justice can be social justice,” the group said.

The event ended on Sunday with student presentation on what they learned from the workshops. They discussed how they want to apply the knowledge to campus activities in order to tackle environmental issues facing Towson.

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