Saturday, September 11th, 2021 our GEM Environmental Team held our 1st Annual 9/11 Remembrance Service Day Clean Up. We chose to work in the Thumb Butte area of the Prescott National Forest.
Our work crew consisted of many community volunteers, including 14 members of the Yavapai-Apache Nation Youth Crew! We started our morning at 9a by meeting up with the Forest Service Technician, Mr. Pacer Bryan to go over all safety rules and regulations.
The Yavapai-Apache Nation Youth Crew, led by GEM's Kassie, Brandon, and Ashley, worked along the White Rock Hiking Trail to cut back brush and perform trail maintenance. While they worked, they were able to educate the young members about different animals, insects, and natural occurrences throughout the forest. The leaders of the Yavapai-Apache Crew were also very educational and provided stories that connected the forest to their culture.
The rest of the GEM Team, and other community volunteers, joined Pacer to clean up trash and repair campsites along the Thumb Butte Road. We collected lots of trash and were able to repair 6 firepits and help close an un-designated road.
To conclude the Service Day, the groups joined together for a discussion about 9/11 and the impact it holds today. After a moment of silence, everyone enjoyed a lunch provided by GEM Environmental.
"I can't think of a better way to respectfully observe the tragedy our country felt on 9/11/2001, than to come together as a community and work at making it better." - Eric Welsh, Founder and Executive Director of GEM Environmental
GEM Environmental applied to have this AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps improve Prescott’s Community Nature Center for several months, in which time they completed an innumerable amount of projects. The work done by this NCCC team will leave a lasting legacy on the CNC, Prescott city trails, and our community.
Learn more about this project and its impact through a feature article in The Daily Courier.
Through our partnership with the Community Nature Center, GEM Environmental was able to host a two day field trip at the CNC for groups of 3rd and 4th graders from a nearby school, Abia Judd Elementary. GEM was able to provide these students with STEM based programming in an effort to support the classes which were falling behind curriculum guidelines. This field trip focused on maps, including identifying the parts of a map, making miniature trail systems, and reading a map to find clues and fill in an energy web. We were also able to create a virtual version of this field trip viewable on our YouTube channel!
A local Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) class has been working at the CNC for a semester-long project in which they brainstorm new site developments and improvements at the Community Nature Center. GEM Environmental provided lessons for these 5th and 6th grade students on the Engineering Design Process, which includes ways of identifying, solving, and implementing a solution to a problem. In this way, they were able to make their ideas for the CNC more practical and presentable. The class focused their efforts on increasing attendance at the CNC by making more activities, such as a rock-climbing course, and making plans to build bathrooms at the CNC. They then brainstormed ways in which these projects could be followed through, and categorized them into simple steps following the Engineering Design Process. Several groups of students even presented their ideas and plans to local city officials. These students and their ideas will not only benefit the Nature Center and the Prescott community, but themselves as they have gained this valuable learning experience by helping those around them.
On October 28th and 29th, GEM Environmental hosted a field trip for several classes from the Prescott Valley Charter School at a local park. The GEM team and seven of our amazing AmeriCorps Volunteers offered rotating stations that each class participated in for 45 minutes. This allowed each class to participate in 3 separate learning and educational activities. Each station focused on a different STEM related topic including Bird Migration Tag, Nature Crafts, and Act Like an Animal Yoga. This two day field trip had a turn out of over 250 students, and we cannot wait to host similar events in the near future!
To volunteer at future events fill out this form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GEM Environmental was able to give back to the community by spending a morning dedicated to cleaning up litter in and around Granite Creek Park. Our team met first thing in the morning at the park and divided into groups to maximize the ground covered. Our staff cleaned up areas along the creek, on the trails, and in the picnic area. We are grateful for our local parks, and hope we can be part of another clean up soon!
Recently, GEM Environmental partnered with the Community Nature Center to provide kids from the Prescott Unified School District a space to learn about STEM. This program specifically meets the needs of underserved students in the district who necessitate a safe place to learn while schools are in hybrid and online learning. Our team wrote, planned, and taught lessons, all of which followed Covid-19 precautions through social distancing. The facilitation of this programming also supported the district in developing distancing and reentry plans to return to in-person school both part and full time. We met with these students twice a week to teach lessons while the CNC staff educated the students an additional two days per week. These kids ranged in age from kindergarten to sixth grade, and numbered anywhere from 5 to 30 students at a time! The GEM staff was able to explore various STEM fields in a meaningful and educational way. Our lesson plans ranged in topics from animal tracks, bird migration, beaks and diet, to soil and why it is important, dinosaurs, and plant identification.
Visit the Community Nature Center's website to learn more about their community initiatives and programs.
Learn more about these programs in this article featuring our partnership with the Community Nature Center!
GEM Environmental was able to give back to the community by spending several hours dedicated to helping build benches at the Community Nature Center (CNC). In this way, GEM was able to give back to the community and honor a new partnership between GEM Environmental and the CNC. For this service project, the GEM crew was able to provide physical assistance by screwing bench parts together, sanding the fully made benches, and placing them where they needed to go. We are so grateful that we were able to assist them and pitch in!
In another one of our experiment videos, our AmeriCorps State Member Jessica Certain shows how to write secret messages using grape juice and baking soda. In this video, she talks about acid and base reactions and uses this to write a secret phrase down. Watch the video here to find out what it says!
At A Glance
The B.I.G. Event: Flagstaff Festival of Science
Cash for College
Yavapai College Prescott Campus Gym
Cash for College
Yavapai College Clarkdale Campus Community Room