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Developing a Biblical Perspective on Stewardship of Creation

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Exciting Developments for the New Environmental Science Class

“For in him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Colossians 1:16-17

What role and responsibility do Christians have to care for the environment? The answer to this question represents a complex and far-reaching issue for which past answers may be elusive. Nevertheless, in the new year-long Environmental Science course, junior and senior students at Worthington Christian now have a valuable opportunity and forum to explore, investigate, and discuss this issue in-depth.

In this class, taught by Krista Wood with co-teacher Annie Stimmel, students gain an understanding of the calling to be stewards of creation and what that looks like. Students consider the impact of their choices and the consequences those choices have regarding the environment.

The framework of the Advanced Placement Environmental Curriculum informs the course, but WC students start by considering nineteen Scripture passages that speak to God’s creation and our relationship to that creation. The structure of the Environmental Science course is largely project-based and is broken into four units of study.

The first unit, Introduction to Environmental Science, allows students to reflect and consider environmental needs vs. wants as they explore the responsibility of our stewardship of creation. Students interview guest speakers and learn about responsibility in media reporting. Additionally, they discuss the tension between environmentalism and Christianity.

The second unit of study is Interactions Within the Biosphere. Without question, this unit challenges students to think deeper as they consider several unintended consequences of our choices and decisions about our environment, called a “trophic cascade,” in which one organism, removed from an ecosystem, triggers a chain of results. In conversation, Wood illustrated several fascinating case studies and their far-reaching ramifications, including the Wolves of Yellowstone and the implications of the religious reverence for cows in India. These studies provide the context for thoughtful exploration and debate. As part of this unit, students choose two topics to debate and must study and consider both sides of the argument.

Unit Three is a “more technical” study of Pollution: air, water, and land. Unit Four in the fourth quarter of study is a culminating project in which students each design their own sustainable town and present their research and design. As a result of students’ study, they will have written a personal statement of their individual role and responsibility for stewardship of creation.

Although the Environmental Science class is only in its second year, it has already created some exciting opportunities for students—and not only for those currently participating in the class. Wood is excited to share that the program received a generous award from the Columbus Zoo’s Teen Eco Summit Program: a $2500 grant, the maximum award given.

The project proposal, led by junior Amani Mureithi, was “to create a bird sanctuary at the Upper School Campus. With one-third of our bird population gone. . .our group desires to bring awareness to this problem and to help in our own way.”

Wood, Stimmel, and Mureithi participated in Zoom interviews during the selection process. Including the entire school in the class project weighed strongly in favor of WC’s proposal.

Groups within the House System will each participate in various roles decorating bird sanctuaries, and faculty will create and decorate squirrel houses for “our resident albino squirrels.” Facilities Director Jack Gross will provide support for planting magnolia trees, burning bushes, oakleaf hydrangeas, forsythia, and boxwoods in May, which will beautify the habitat that the students create. The Video Production team created videos to publicize the project, and the Bio Club will work with the Digital Arts program to create “professional posters detailing bird species found in our areas to decorate the walls of the student lounge.”

On April 25, students will present their project at the Zoo, with a final report taking place in May after the project.

Wood invites the help of WC parents to provide volunteer assistance with the upcoming plantings. She states, “This [is] an incredible opportunity, as our school is [gaining] recognition from the Columbus Zoo,” and thanks parents and friends in advance for supporting our students in this amazing project. Please reach out to Krista Wood if you would like to help.

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