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Greening university minds

Volume 6 Number 2 - October 2009
A. Bélgica Cerón Carpio, L. Olguín Hernández, K. A. Cue Hernández & M. Rodríguez-Acosta

French: Sensibiliser les mentalités académiques aux défis écologiques

Spanish: Enverdeciendo las mentes en la universidad


Summary

These days the state of the environment is worrying and consciously or unconsciously we humans are having a negative impact upon it. To address this situation, in 2008, Benemerita University in Puebla (Benemerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla –BUAP) supported a series of activities with the objective of creating an environmentally aware culture in the university community.  Together with staff from the Education Department, our Botanic Garden developed a workshop entitled University and Environment, aimed at students of Culture and Ethics.  The Botanic Garden is located in the main university campus and is an ideal site for environmental education. One workshop was given for lecturers and 40 more for the 1300 undergraduates.


The major project, University and Environment (Universidad y Medio Ambiente – UMA) at BUAP was initiated in 2007 and began its activities in 2008. One of its objectives is to create an environmentally aware culture amongst the students. The University Botanic Garden developed the UMA workshop, in which all the university students could participate. Apart from their great importance as nature reserves, botanic gardens are also useful as educational tools that contribute to the development of the individual and can therefore be used to achieve another of our objectives for UMA.

The Botanic Garden at BUAP consists of 11 hectares with different types of vegetation representative of Puebla State – 1000 plant species, more than 100 bird species, and other elements that make visitors aware of nature and the need to value and respect it. Its location on the campus makes it an ideal space for the workshop University and Environment, one of the main objectives of which is to help develop responsible and aware individuals.

The four-hour workshop included topics such as water, soil, green spaces, atmosphere, Global Climate Change, and the very serious problems arising from waste generation. Each topic was discussed with reference to its biological, social and economic importance, the current environmental situation, the sustainable use of natural resources and health, and ways of alleviating the problems. The workshop served to promote exchanges of opinion between the students and to encourage them to think seriously about environmental degradation.

In the introductory part of the workshop, there was a presentation of UMA and its objectives. A video showed the beauty of different Mexican landscapes and contrasted this with the environmental threats they face. After this came an ‘all in’ activity that showed how every part of the ecosystem forms an integrated whole, and how each has an effect on the others. In this way all the subjects included in the workshop were linked together.

The workshop was developed with the collaboration of students of Biology and Environmental Engineering and also students from the UPAEP (Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla). All the students, and the education staff in the garden, had several meetings and practical sessions for training and feedback before beginning the workshop. The target audience were students reading Culture and Ethics, a course that includes Environmental Protection as a compulsory element.

The workshop was given first to the lecturers of Culture and Ethics and following this to the students. In order to get feedback and improve the results of the workshop they all completed a questionnaire afterwards and this resulted in several changes being implemented. The positive feedback showed that those attending the workshop had had a very satisfactory experience. Both content and activities motivated the students to consider the problems of the environment and how it might be protected.

The interest in and success of the workshop show us that we need to continue working at the university level, both in order to increase awareness of environmental problems within the university and to contribute to the development of individuals who will remain committed to the sustainable use of natural resources.

Résumé

Aujourd’hui, l’état de l’environnement est inquiétant et, consciemment ou inconsciemment nous les humains avons un impact négatif sur cet espace dans lequel nous vivons.  Pour aborder cette situation, en 2008, l’université de Benemerita à Puebla (Benemerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla – BUAP)  a appuyé le développement d’une série d’activités dans l’objectif de créer une culture  consciente de l’environnement au sein de l’université. En collaboration avec des membres du département de l’éducation, notre jardin botanique à mené un atelier intitulé ‘Université et environnement pour les étudiants de Culture et Éthique’. Le jardin botanique se trouve sur le site principal de l’université et présente un lieu idéal pour l’éducation environnementale. Un atelier pour les enseignants et une quarantaine d’ateliers pour les 1300 étudiants ont été organisé jusqu'à ce jour.


Resumen

La situación ambiental actual es preocupante y de manera consciente o inconsciente, estamos generando un impacto negativo hacia el ambiente. Ante esta situación la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla en el 2008, planteó realizar una serie de actividades con el objetivo de desarrollar una cultura ambiental en la comunidad universitaria. En este sentido, el personal del departamento de educación del Jardín Botánico, implementó el taller “Universidad y medio ambiente”, dirigido a estudiantes universitarios de la asignatura Cultura y Ética. El Jardín Botánico se encuentra en el principal Campus de la Universidad, lo que lo convierte en un espacio ideal para contribuir en la educación ambiental de la comunidad universitaria. Se impartió un taller a los docentes y 40 talleres a 1300 estudiantes universitarios.



Herbario y Jardín Botánico
Amparo Bélgica Cerón Carpio, Head of Education, Botanical Gardens, BUAP
Licet Olguín Hernández and Karina A. Cue Hernández, student participants in UMA
Maricela Rodríguez-Acosta, UMA Coordinator

Herbario y Jardín Botánico
Benemerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
Edificio 112A.Planta Baja
Av. San Claudio s/n.
Col. San Manuel
Puebla 72590, Mexico

Email: amparo_belgicac@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.web.buap.mx/