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The Price is Light; ECCo's High School Summer Interns Create Community-Action Project

This summer, nine Chicago Public High School students spent six weeks learning, researching, and making a positive difference for the environment in their own communities in Chicago and the Calumet region as a part of The Field Museum and ECCo's Ford Environmental Leadership Internship (FELI).  Not only did these interns create a lasting impact with their work while developing important job skills, but this experience also transformed their own lives.  FELI participants commented, “My experience in this program was great. I met a lot of new friends, went to a lot of different places... I learned a lot of new things I never thought I would learn," and “The Ford Environmental Leadership Internship was enjoyable and thrilling. During these six weeks we not only tackled environmental issues but also had fun while doing it."

Funded by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, FELI participants used the Earth Force process to examine their community, choose a local environmental issue that they wanted to address in some way, and then create a civic-action project to address that issue. The student interns researched the topics of climate change and biodiversity. After exploring the Calumet region - from riding bike trails in the region and discussing how urban planning connects to biodiversity, to learning about a proposed coal gasification plant on Chicago's south side, to hiking at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore - they decided that they wanted to help raise awareness around greenhouse gas emissions produced from electricity.

As a group they decided that the best way to strategically tackle this issue was through the development and implementation of an educational, fun, interactive game titled "The Price is Light." The game focused on climate change, its impact on the local area, and steps people can take to become more energy efficient. After developing and promoting both this educational game, a diorama explaining energy consumption, and an educational brochure, the interns then made two public presentations to showcase their hard work.

Top Photo: FELI intern

Bottom Photo: Laura Milkert