Senior Spotlight: Cristian Ojeda

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Slideshow: Student participants in Cristian’s Fall Camping Trip to Advisor Joey’s land near Stevens Point, WI.

YPEAR Project Title: In what ways does offering opportunities to learn about environmental issues and make environmental connections affect a young person’s willingness to make more environmentally healthy decisions?

Problem Statement: Environmental issues are an ever-looming issue of our current and future generations. The fact that there are some people who believe that these issues don’t matter to them – either because they don’t care what happens to nature or think they won’t be affected by the adverse effects of their and others actions – is an unhealthy sign of what’s to come. If a serious and timely change in perspective thinking doesn’t occur, our world will continue to degrade in quality and livability. The issues I plan to address are that not enough people, and especially not enough students/youth, are being exposed to the environment, the problems currently affecting it, and having positive experiences that make them realize they are a part of nature, and that they need nature to live. This kind of perspective thinking goes on to contribute to them making better environmentally conscious decisions.      

Thesis Description: I plan to address this issue by creating a workshop where I will teach and discuss with students about how we should be respecting our commons of nature. Once we have bettered our learning on how to do so, we will be going on an environmentally conscious camping trip where we will try to make memorable connections in nature, which I hope will strengthen our moral obligations to becoming better stewards of the land. After my mindful camping trip, I will hold another workshop where the student participants will learn to better advocate for the issues we want to address in our communities, and then we will create a plan to address an issue and act on it. My last action will be a page on our school website where either myself, or myself and a group of students, will write articles highlighting some environmental issues that the average person can affect on a small scale, as well as information on why the issue is a problem.

Methodology: To measure my community change, I will mainly be using pre and post surveys, student reflections, and maybe photos.

Implications: The goal of my project is to raise more awareness to the issues of the environment that will eventually affect us all, as well as getting my generation to explore environmental advocacy, environmental issues and their own personal sense of place. My personal goals for this project are that I hope this experience I will go through will prepare me for my future in natural resources activism or management, as well as proof to me that I can be helpful and a positive addition to society.


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