"Barnard/Columbia SEEDS Chapter" » New York City, New York
The Barnard Biology Club (BBC) aims to form a SEEDS Chapter as an umbrella group in order to introduce Barnard College and other Columbia University undergraduates (Columbia College, Fu School of Engineering) to ecology and to foster a love for the environment and ecological research. We hope this chapter will inspire students to explore natural environments inside and outside of New York City and to pursue advanced degrees in ecology-oriented disciplines after graduation by hosting field trips and traveling to conferences together and supporting student research initiatives at the undergraduate level.
We are thrilled to announce the SEEDS Chapter at Barnard College/Columbia University as one of our newest additions to SEEDS!
Plans for 2009 - 2010
- Once again we are planning fall field trips to Black Rock Forest with co-involvement by SEEDS, CUEBS, and BBC. These will be either day-trips or overnight trips (staying at the Forest’s Lodge.) We would like to begin expanding these field trips, promoting BRF as a destination for study retreats by undergraduates during the “reading week” that precedes exams, or writing retreats for graduate students during winter break.
- Within the BBS and CUEBS clubs, we have not yet publicized the availability of SEEDS mini-grants, field trip opportunities, or financial support for ESA meeting attendance. This will be implemented in the coming year, especially to undergraduate students majoring in Environmental Biology (which is a major offered at Barnard and at Columbia.) Interested students will be selected and briefed about the mission of SEEDS and our SEEDS chapter.
- Next year, Barnard’s new student center will be opening, optimistically during the Spring semester of the 2009-20 academic year. New landscaping and a greenroof are part of the new building. A promising strategy for building our chapter is to orient SEEDS activities toward our campus’s existing greenhouse and this new greenroof.
- As faculty advisor, Professor Hilary Callahan is planning visits to Swarthmore’s greenroofs, which are used in courses such as Economics, Engineering, Environmental Science, Political Science, and First Year Seminar. For curriculum development, Swarthmore as an excellent model for Barnard to consider as our school develops something distinctive and broader on our own campus.
- Co-curricular and outreach activities will also be encouraged on the greenroof, and tied in with the SEEDS mission. We are hoping that the greenroof can host diverse student projects, including activities that don’t seem ecological at first glance. These might include sculpture exhibits, performance art, small ensemble music performances, small-scale dance, yoga or tai-chi, architecture projects, drawing or painting classes, K-12 science education activities, or urban studies activities. To support these activities, we are likely to apply for a mini-grant or possibly for a more ambitious chapter-development grant.
Activities of 2008 - 2009
- Our new chapter has started small during its first year. Our main strategy is to form alliances with other science-oriented clubs on campus, strengthening them while also fostering our chapter. Allies include the Barnard Biology Club, and the Columbia University Environmental Biology Society (CUEBS, pronounced “cubes”).
- In the fall, several members of CUEBS took an over-night field trip to Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, NY. Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback about such trips, they are also discussed more below in our plans for the upcoming year.
- The chapter sponsored informal student gatherings with two visiting scientists.
- Leading entomologist and chemical ecologist May Berenbaum visited Columbia for a Darwin Bicentennial Lecture in March, and spent time meeting with about a 8 ecology- and research-undergraduate students and Barnard faculty. We specifically chatted with her about the SEEDS program and about the role of SEEDS campus chapters. She had excellent ideas for Barnard’s planned green roof, discussed more below.
- Tropical ecologist and conservation biologist Jai Rangatharan visited Columbia in April to give a talk about biodiversity conservation in areas occupied by tropical agriculture. His visit coincided with the annual senior thesis fair for the 40+ Barnard and Columbia students majoring in Environmental Science and Environmental Biology. He attended the session and had conversations with 4-5 students doing agriculture-related projects. Our chapter advisor and co-advisors also had a chance specifically chatted with him about the SEEDS program and about the role of SEEDS campus chapters.
- The graduate students in Columbia’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology invited textbook author and prominent biologist Douglas Futuyma to give one of the Darwin Bicentennial Lectures in March. This talk was well-attendedn, and we believe it was the first time that a student-sponsored speaker had been included in an official departmental seminar series. This is clearly a good idea for future years, and could involve our SEEDS chapter.
- In April the Barnard Biology club sold plants from Barnard’s Ross Greenhouse to raise funds and awareness about biology on our campus, particularly plant biology.
Dr. Hilary Callahan
Ms. Angelica Patterson