This picturesque library near the Mark Twain National Forest will be the site of student activism this summer. During weekly “read-ins,” students from Rolla Junior High and Bourbon High School in Cuba, MO, will read at story time the book they illustrated — a book written and inspired by their teachers and FFT Fellows Kevin Koppelman and Rhonda Koppelman.
In 2018, Rhonda and Kevin were awarded a Fund for Teachers grant to 0bserve at the Big Five Wild Game Reserve in Kruger, South Africa, how ecosystems function alongside human populations to demonstrate how actions across the globe affect the environment and encourage students to become involved in global sustainability of the environment.
“My students seemed to have little concept of their impact upon the world,” said Rhonda, a previous recipient of the Missouri Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year. “They struggled understanding how the extinction of one animal might affect the world as a whole, and they couldn’t grasp the concept that they had an ethical obligation to encourage others into working together to develop health ecosystems around the globe. This fellowship was designed to help me instill a sense of global stewardship in my students and to inspire them into making a difference around the world.”
• Monitored the behavior, feeding patterns and movement of elephants
• Collated and recorded data on lions
• Monitored the rhino population to support data recorded by the anti-poaching team
• Captured data to be used by the reserve management team for their endangered species work, and,
• Worked to regenerate the environment for the animals, including prevention of soil erosion and removal of
“Thanks to FFT, I can now clearly explain how the impact of extinction of one animal plays upon the entire world,” Rhonda continued. “In fact, I understand it so well, that my teammate and I have written a children’s book explaining why the Rhino is so important to a healthy globe. This experience has impressed upon me my role in educating others on global stewardship. In short, l learned that…. Humans depend on nature for survival. If you destroy nature, you destroy mankind. Your actions, It Matters.”
We were so pleased to receive a copy of Your Actions…It Matters! The White Rhino this week in the mail along with this letter…
Huge thanks to Fund for Teachers for the once-in-a lifetime opportunity to learn about Human Environment Interactions in Africa! Our students are excited to present this book at the public library read-ins this summer. The program will consist of our students reading to young readers and then working with them to create a craft while they discuss the importance of EVERYONE doing their part to keep the earth healthy.
This was a great way to teach our students that EVERONE can make a difference and it has also empowered our students to want to do more.
This would not have been possible without the support of Fund for Teachers. Thanks for holding our hands through this endeavor and answering our questions as we made our way through this experience.
We are so excited to be making a difference in the lives of our students and young readers. We hope to make the theme “It Matters” a series of books…wish us luck!