10:14 AM

UHD Collaborates with Harmony Public Schools on Buffalo Bayou Service Project

harmony public schoolsIn collaboration with Global Youth Service Day and Environmental Education Day, the Center for Public Service and Family Strengths (CPSFS) at UHD will host the Buffalo Bayou Service Project on Friday, April 11 to clean up the bayou and introduce high school students to innovative undergraduate research.

Ninety juniors and seniors from Harmony Public Schools (HPS) will participate in learning experiences in the morning related to the bayou, and will tour UHD's Student Research, High-Impact Practices and Sustainability Conference in the afternoon.

HPS students will tour the bayou with a natural science professor in pontoon boats, donated by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, to gather water samples and discuss flora and fauna of Buffalo Bayou. The teams of students then will analyze collected water samples and learn about invasive species in the bayou.

"Our students and staff are excited about the Buffalo Bayou Service Project and the opportunity to spend the day with UHD students and faculty in a day of service and learning," said Julie Norton, director of communication at HPS. "Participating in this event is the perfect extension of the style of instruction and learning that takes place within the HPS system."

Following the bayou tours, UHD natural science students will present their own research, interact with HPS students, and introduce them to exciting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors.

UHD President Bill Flores and UH System Regent Paula Mendoza will kick off the student conferences by presenting HPS students with certificates for completing the Buffalo Bayou Service Project. The students then will divide into groups of 30 to tour the conference and learn from presenting students and natural science professors.

Throughout the day of service - which includes the University's annual "Ed's Bayou Cleanup project," - UHD students will gathercpsfslogo recyclable materials from the bayou and its surrounding areas to both clean and protect the environment near campus.

UHD students Weston Gameson, Gus Valtasaros and Heather Strange and the South Asian Student Association were integral in planning and bringing various exhibitors to campus for the event, including Houston Tomorrow, Houston Renewable Energy Group, the Texas Environmental Group and Houston's Museum of Natural Science, among others.

"This collaboration will enable HPS students to participate in high-impact service learning, while contributing to the restoration of Buffalo Bayou," said Noël Bezette-Flores, Ph.D., executive director of CPSFS. "This day of service - officially registered with Youth Service of America - will expose participants to fascinating natural science fields and underscore the importance of volunteerism and giving back to the communities in which they live."