UMass ECO Fall 2017 Practicum – Environmental Justice in Springfield

pic of kids in abbey brook

This semester, a team if students from several University of Massachusetts departments will explore environmental issues in Springfield’s low-income neighborhoods. Using a series of outreach and community engagement tools, students will work to examine the environmental quality of open space in these areas. Working with partners from Regreen Springfield, the City of Springfield and the US Forest Service, students will explore analysis tools that can be used to gauge the quantity and quality of urban greenspace, and will develop draft strategies for improving these important natural features of the city.

In order to deliver the most valuable and rewarding experience for the student participants, and actively engage the Springfield community, the practicum will include a series of roundtable discussion seminars, research activities and a community engagement event in Springfield. The proposed activities will take place on the UMass campus, and via virtual sessions that will help to make the course as accessible to participants as possible. Students will also travel to Springfield on one, or more occasions, depending on student interest and program delivery. The community engagement event will take place on a Saturday in early November, and will include activities and outreach developed by class participants.

This practicum will provide students a great learning opportunity, while working in one of New England’s most challenging communities. The work that will be accomplished during this hands-on practicum will play an integral role in helping make Springfield’s low-income neighborhoods healthier, more livable, sustainable. How to best address the issue and challenges of environmental justice in Springfield’s neighborhoods is a key outcome of this semester’s work, and the community engagement component of the course will help examine tools and techniques that can help develop solutions for green space enhancements in the city’s low-income communities.

1-3 credits will be awarded, depending upon the time commitment that students would like to commit to. 4 hours per week, plus one Saturday will earn 3 credits. By committing 3 hours per week, plus one Saturday visit, students will earn2credits. Finally,1creditwillbeawardedfor3hoursperweek,viaparticipationintheroundtableseminar.. Tentatively the team will meet on Monday’s at 4:30 – 5:15 PM in Holdsworth Hall, and via an online connection.

If you would like to be added to the course, you can visit the following link, and provide your information, and you will be added to SPIRE. You can designate the desired number of credits you would like to earn, on the form.

To register visit or send an email to Dave Bloniarz,


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