April Luehmann, Associate Professor, Warner School of Education, is the program director of Get Real! Science (GRS). GRS doubles as a teacher education program and offers out-of-school programming for students to tackle authentic and relevant science. For the past two summers, April has mentored her pre-service science teachers while they worked with students in Sodus, New York, to tackle sustainability issues relevant to their community.
According to April, “Sodus is a special place, grounded in a strong agricultural economy, home to diverse plants and wildlife, and informally and formally led by many longtime residents who love and look out for their community. That said, sometimes youth need help in seeing the unique value of the small town they just happened to grow up in. Doing science with the lens of sustainability does that for them, helping them to feel a new sense of pride in their hometown.”
Switching gears for the school year, April worked with three doctoral students and nine science teachers to develop COVIDXUS, an antiracist COVID unit that is being implemented online and in person. “COVIDXUS engages youth doing science in order to care for their communities,” she says. Check out their Instagram account (@covidxus) to see the work local youth were able to do in the Rochester community while partnering with doctors at URMC. Follow the page to keep up to date!
April’s dedication to being sustainable stems from a deep appreciation for the beauty and importance of biological diversity, a sense of responsibility for being a good caretaker of environmental resources, and an acute awareness of the harm that comes to marginalized communities when we don’t care for our environment. She uses Community Composting to compost her food, recycles regularly, eats organic and locally grown food as much as possible, and even drives a hybrid car. “Choosing to do the things within our power not only allows us to do our part but serves as a daily reminder for these things we hold dear,” she says.
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