Never doubt that a small number of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has!

-Margaret Meade

In place of a final exam in APES you will embark on an independent project whose goal is to make a positive difference in our local environment and community. The focus of your project is your choice but it must be related to something we learned about in APES that particularly intrigued you.

Your project will culminate in a paper documenting your work. It must include:

  • 1. Your original vision and goals for the project
  • 2. What you did- who did you contact, did you organize a work force, what kinds of stages of development did your work go through?
  • 3. What you accomplished and the kind of difference you think you actually made in the environment and the community.

My interest is for you to be involved in something meaningful to you, so please research and select your project carefully. Although we have been studying some very sobering changes happening our environment this year, we CAN all make a difference. Even if that means initiating the change by the action of one person- YOU. Never underestimate the ripple effect of good intentions!

Your project idea and action plan is due on Wednesday, April 28. The final paper is due on Wednesday, June 9 by 3:00 pm. The project will be worth 20% of your grade. There will be NO extensions given for your paper.

The following are some project ideas to consider. Of course your own ideas are welcome as well!

1. Make a nature trail. Identify and label the plants.
2. Create fun(d) raising event- like organizing a musical performance, dance, or dinner. Raise money for a cause like AIDS, CSAs, malaria, etc.
3. Show APES- related movies in the auditorium. Charge a fee. Donate the funds to charity.
4. Get a crew together and remove invasive species from our school or community.
5. Write an environmental article for the New Paltz Times enlightening readers about your biggest pet peeve and DO something about it. The article must be published to get credit.
6. Plant trees and gardens for the elderly.
7. Take a group of kids out for a nature hike!
8. Test local streams for their water quality and send results to the River Watch Network.
9. Hold a flea market fair to sell used items. Donate money to a worthy cause.
10. Use facebook, you tube, google videos or a blog to advertise your project
ex. cooking demo, alternative energy, hybrid cars, ways to cut gas use, ways to save electricity...
11. Start a letter campaign to corporations to change their ways. Get petitions signed.
12. Create an informational brochure and distribute to your neighbors. Take a survey of their ways. Try to (gently) teach them a new habit. Get feedback from them.
ex. how they can reduce their carbon footprint, how to make homes more energy efficient- check list of things people can do to reduce their energy use, hazardous chemicals used in their home and safe alternatives.
13. Write to legislators to influence their policy. Get a press release out to inform the local media about your mission.
14. Throw a healthy foods dinner party. Create a cookbook. Pass out the recipes to friends and family. Bring in samples for the class to try.
15. Make a video for NPZTV on something educational. Start a movement.
16. Get the district to use biodiesel, use organic food, switch to LED lights.
17. Adopt a highway.
18. Teach people how to grow a lawn without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
19. Do a survey in school of students awareness of an environmental issue. Analyze the data. Put it on NPZTV. Educate us!
20. Plant seeds with kids.
21. Teach elementary/middle school students about an environmental issue. Pick a subject that you learned this year and create a lesson plan on that subject for a selected grade (choices are 1st through 9th). Present the lesson to the teacher (and the class if the teacher can fit it in to her/his end of the year curriculum.)
22. Plan a Bronx zoo field trip for elementary school kids to study endangered species. Make a field trip guide to the zoo and a class lesson on endangered species. Present to teachers.
23. Contact a local (state) environmental organization and participate in one of their projects. Most of these sites have an email service of current alerts and actions on behalf of the environment.
24. Write a children's book (with illustrations) that cover topics we discussed earlier in the year. Read the book to an elementary class and do a hands on project with them.
25. Do some restoration work in the community. Contact the appropriate agencies and plant trees, shrubs and perennials around New Paltz. I know the New Paltz Garden club could use your help, also the New Paltz Beautification Committee contact Sue Stegan at shstegen@att.net. Also, the Huguenot society would love your help.
26. Do a Wallkill River clean up and recycle the recyclable materials. Document how far you went along the river.
27. Make your home more energy/resource efficient. Change your families habits regarding eating, electricity use, recycling- something. Try not to get kicked out of the house.
Note: you must have permission of your parents before you do ANYTHING!!!!

  • fix dripping faucets
  • weather strip door/windows
  • get your family to switch to more environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • start a recycling campaign at home (visit the town dump and see how they handle recyclable materials)
  • find out how to dispose of used oil, old pesticides, and other toxic nasties
  • work out a plan to reduce your electric bills and water usage (go to the hardware store and learn about energy and water saving devices)
  • find out what kind of lawn mowers are better for the environment, etc

28. Get involved in local environmental issues by attending the village or town Environmental Conservation Commission.
29. Prepare and distribute a handbook of locally available environmentally friendly products and organizations. Make a guide book for the Chamber of Commerce.
30. Contact local libraries and book stores. Make a list of suggestions for our librarian to establish a larger environmental library at school. Put together a reading list for incoming APES students.
31. Contact the Department of Environmental Conservation for ideas. The regional branch is just down the road- @256-3000.
32. Volunteer at the Mohonk Preserve or Minnewaska. There are lots of things you can do such as start a native plants garden, improve the trails, pull invasive weeks and become a bike patrol volunteer.
33. Organize an Earth Day celebration for our school- (mid-April)

  • posters on sustainable energy
  • information table with brochures on how kids can make a difference
  • used textbook swap

34. Volunteer at a local organic farm or health food store. They could use your enthusiasm and help!
35. Volunteer at a local humane society, animal shelter or the Woodstock Animal farm. Do something meaningful for our homeless animals like giving them affection so they socialize better and have a better chance at being adopted. Raise money for their supplies.
36. Help an elderly neighbor with their yard work. Recycle yard waste and of course use no environmentally toxic pesticides. Take before and after pictures.
37. Research how NPHS can reduce their use of copying paper. Create a document on your findings.
38. Start a recycling campaign at a local retirement community.
39. See if can do something for the Transfer Station/Recycling Center in Gardiner (255-9775) or Landfill & Recycling Center in New Paltz (255-8456).
40. Clean up along the rail trail. Take before and after shots. Document how much ground you covered. Write an article about your experience in the New Paltz Times.
41. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity (568-6035). Build a house for the needy.
42. Volunteer for Families of New Paltz (338-5953). Donate your time to help others help themselves.
43. Volunteer for the Salvation Army (255-9852). Recycle clothes from your neighborhood.
44. Take kids fishing and teach them how to protect our waterways.
45. Give a performance that teaches the audience about the environment- sing, play an instrument or put on a play
46. Improve the inner courtyard of the school.

  • Make a sculpture out of recycled materials
  • Build bird feeders and bird houses
  • Plant flowers.

Wow- the possibilities are numerous. Make it meaningful! Make a difference!