Earth Day Service Project 2019

On April 22, 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. And on April 27, 2019, eight dedicated environmentalists from Arapahoe Community College—some seeking Service Learning credit—joined Denver Audubon’s Master Birders, Naturalists, and other volunteers to learn more about various species sharing our planet.

ACC’s Earth Day Service Project began at 7:30 a.m. when Cristina Duke (an ACC student from Joan Anderssen’s ECON class) arrived with her young daughter Kaelyn, then Juliet Hubbell (ACC’s Humanities faculty member) joined us with her daughter Rachelle. Dylan Goodman (from Diana Hornick’s online Interpersonal Communication class) and Lisa Asbill (from Karen Browning’s online Interpersonal Communication class) also attended early that Saturday to help pull weeds, cut back some Rabbitbrush, and rake leaves and branches from the Garden Circle just past the entrance to Denver Audubon’s Nature Center, south of Chatfield State Park in Littleton.

Left to right: Dylan Goodman, Audubon Master Birder Mary Keithler, Trina Wilson, Rachelle Hubbell, Juliet Hubbell, Lisa Asbill, Diana Hornick

At 9 a.m. Trina Wilson (an ACC student from one of our science classes taught by Celia Norman) met up with Team ACC to begin the Denver Metro Nature Challenge BioBlitz. What’s a BioBlitz? It’s an event that brings together natural resource experts, community volunteers, and members of the public to inventory all species in a specific area over a specific time period.

A lone grasshopper rests in dried and fallen Cottonwood leaves. (Photo courtesy of Trina Wilson)

Pycnoporellus, a genus of fungi, grows on the trunk of a tree near Audubon’s Nature Center. (Photo courtesy of Trina Wilson)

Poison Ivy berries can contain oxalates, needle-like crystals that cause pain and swelling in the lips, face, tongue, and skin. (Photo courtesy of Trina Wilson)

Vertebrae of a mammal found during our BioBlitz hike. (Photo courtesy of Trina Wilson)

Our Naturalist guide, Dave Erickson, alongside Master Birder Mary Keithler, pointed out native plants and called our attention to many birds, including a flock of six American White Pelicans soaring overhead and some Hummingbirds whirring by us at ground level. We hiked the trails adjacent to the beaver ponds, majestic Cottonwoods, and Audubon’s ever-popular springtime bird banding station.

Audubon Master Naturalist Dave Erickson (in the middle with hat) talks about Rabbitbrush and various other native plants at Denver Audubon’s Nature Center in Littleton. Note the ACC backpacks that were filled with goodies and provided to all volunteers, complements of ACC’s Student Life Office.

Between 9 and 11 a.m., and after the morning turned from cloudy to partly sunny, Team ACC helped create a snapshot of 50 different local species of plants, mammals, birds, insects, and fungi, better understanding our beautiful natural world.

Red-Winged Blackbird perched and observing BioBlitz participants. (Photo courtesy of Trina Wilson)

Wild Plum blooms in late April on nature trails at Audubon. (Photo courtesy of Trina Wilson)

Since 1970, National Earth Day has not been considered a national “holiday.” But if we want to continue breathing fresh air, drinking clean water, observing mammals, enjoying bird songs, and appreciating every plant we see and smell and eat, then Earth Day needs to become a national holiday in order to bring even more awareness to all of the species we share this planet with. Join us right now by signing the petition….and see you next April to celebrate our wondrous planet!

by Diana Hornick, ACC Communication Department Faculty
 & Service Learning Center Coordinator

My Experience as an ACC Student

ACC main building - Littleton CampusTwo years ago, I came to this beautiful state (Colorado) in the United States of America from my home country, Nepal. I did my Master’s in Medical Microbiology from Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu Nepal. As I was new to this state, I started search for a job opportunity. During my search online, I found a Medical Laboratory Technology course at Arapahoe Community College which I found related to my subject. Then, I applied for the MLT program, but I needed to do prerequisites for this program to fulfill its criteria. From there, I started my journey at Arapahoe Community College to complete my prerequisite courses. In January 2018, I started studying here and now my prerequisites are almost complete. After completing all my prerequisites, I will be applying for the MLT program next year. Hopefully, I will get admission and pursue my dream in the field of medicine.

In my opinion, Arapahoe Community College is great college to pursue education for a student like me, as I was new for this country with a completely different background. The best thing I like about this college is its friendly and very cooperative environment. I found all instructors and students are welcoming and helpful in all possible ways. Whenever, I get stuck in anything, I can openly ask for help without any hesitation. Similarly, the instruction at ACC is very fruitful, as the study pattern focuses on both theoretical and practical knowledge. Personally, I have improved a lot and learned many new things during my course of study.

While analyzing the difference between online and face-to face courses, as per my experience, I found both courses have their pros and cons. In online courses pros are in its flexibility with time and accessibility whenever we want. Whereas cons are not getting a response of our queries in real time and lack of peer interaction. Similarly, in face-to-face courses, the pros are that we can asks questions to our instructor in real time and can discuss the course-related problem with peers. Whereas, cons are it takes lot time for traveling. So, it all depends on us what course will be manageable in a particular time according to our needs.

Overall, as an Arapahoe Community College student, I have had a wonderful learning experience and feel proud  to be part of this prestigious institution.

by Nabina Jha, ACC student

Service Learning at Project C.U.R.E.

Front of Project C.U.R.E. Denver Warehouse

Front of Project C.U.R.E. Denver Warehouse

Entrance to Project C.U.R.E.

Entrance to Project C.U.R.E.

I learned so much during my time at Project C.U.R.E. I discovered how much I enjoyed being out in the community. I was skeptical at first because it was the first time I had done something completely by myself without taking someone with me. I ended up liking going in alone. It allowed me to open up to others, which meant the most to me. I realized how much I genuinely cared about my community and being an active member. Although it was a little intimidating at first because many of the volunteers were already established, they made me feel a sense of belonging and answered every single question I had. I found that I am an effective communicator when I focus and try to understand what the task means on both macro and micro levels of society. Being a part of something bigger than myself allowed me to see the bigger picture and look at why the others were volunteering and why this work meant so much to them.

“Mid-sorting” table inside Project C.U.R.E. Warehouse

Warehouse full of medical supplies waiting to be sorted or shipped

“Dual-sorting” area where items are sorted again.

I worked with Michelle for my first experience service learning at Project C.U.R.E. in the “mid-sort” section of the warehouse. This station was dedicated to determining what we need to keep from the medical supplies donated to Project C.U.R.E. from medical offices. Since many of the items may not be used in the countries that may not need them or they do not have access to electricity we ended up throwing away many supplies. Michelle had been volunteering at the organization every Wednesday for the past year. She’s a retired nurse who knew how to effectively communicate with someone like me who had never volunteered before or knew what any medical supplies were when we sorted through everything. Michelle’s communication skills helped me focus and work on my communicating and listening skills.

“Kits for Kids” medical kits are assembled in this area

She gave me the confidence to make decisions regarding things that I thought were acceptable to keep without asking. All the volunteers at Project C.U.R.E showed me how selfless my community is and how the work being done is just as important as interacting with others in the community. I saw the same volunteers every Wednesday at the time. I now understand why they do it and I will be back to help because of the positive experiences I had there.

“Mid-sort” boxes on pallets prepared for sorting

Wall that tells people what trash is. There are so many items donated that cannot be used.

Boxes that have been sorted through and others that need to be sent out.

During my experience service learning at Project C.U.R.E, I learned that I am a better communicator than I had initially thought. I went into the situation with something I wanted to work on such as listening and showing people I am listening attentively. It all came so naturally when we all started talking and asking questions about the work and each other which brought us together. Being in an environment where I wasn’t afraid to ask for help showed me how my community supported me and others they had never met before.

by Leah Buchart, ACC Student

My Experience at Dumb Friends League

Lily - Denver Dumb Friends League dogThis is Lily! She was a puppy that I cared for when I first started volunteering. I bonded with her throughout the weeks and ended up adopting her! I adopted her on my 3rd day volunteering and she is now 10 months!

Dumb Friends League play roomThis was one of the playrooms that the dogs got to play in. As you can tell, I took a lot of interest in Lily. Sometimes we allowed dogs to play together so they get to bond. I got to monitor them to make sure nothing happened. This was always fun and exciting to watch!

Angel - pitbull mixThis is Angel! He is a pitbull that I learned to love and adore! He is the sweetest puppy I have ever met. He loved to play fetch and tug a war. Everyone has this idea that pitbulls are these scary and dangerous dogs. I am a 5’3, 110-pound teenager and I couldn’t have felt safer with Angel.

Someone I worked with was a gal named Alex. She was such a bright and happy soul. She helped me learn throughout this experience. She has been working here since 2012 and is now a leader here. She has adopted 3 dogs and 2 cats (yay!) here. She and her fiance, Ryan, take some of the dogs on hikes and walks when they have free time. the location I volunteered was surrounded by mountains and fun hikes (for humans and the dogs!).

Another person I met was Amanda. She was a teenager who volunteered on the weekends. She has been volunteering here for the past 4 months and has learned a lot. She helped “mentor” me here and help me get the hang of things quickly. She first volunteering for a school project but fell in love with it and has continue to volunteer (like me!).

Something I learned about my community was how well we work together. When we volunteer together, we are able to achieve great things. A task that would’ve taken 3 hours only took an hour with extra volunteers. Something else I learned about our community is some people are awful! Throughout my volunteering, I saw too many abused dogs. We had to care many dogs back to health and watch them learn to trust and love again. It was extremely tough for me to see animals in that condition. I have always been an animal lover and seeing dogs abused and crying, really took a toll on me. Throughout my couple months of volunteering, I was able to see the struggles they face at a simple yet intense shelter.

Something I learned about myself is I am such a shy person! I have always been a shy person. I’ve been at my job for 3 years and I totally forgot how scary it is to start at a new place! I was awfully shy when I first started. Once I met someone around my age that I could connect with, I started to open up a little more. I learned that I’m a great listener and communicator while I volunteered. I listened extremely well to instructions and the commands that needed to be done. After I got the hang of it, they started to have me help new people. I wasn’t in charge, whatsoever, but I was able to help the new volunteers when they needed it! This was truly an honor because I was able to master and help a shelter that truly impacted people and animals!

by Hannah McNeese, ACC Student

Why Study Abroad with ACC?

Dreaming to go to London, Paris, Zurich, and Milan was just a dream 2 days before the spring semester 2015. That first day of spring semester Adam Shelffo (Business faculty) walked in and started to talk about a business class offered in the summer. Right away, I tuned out because I did not want to do a summer class. Next thing he says is, “We will be going to London, Paris, Zurich, and Milan.” Boom, it was done. I was going to be in my first summer class, going to Europe for 2 weeks. Those 5 months prior departure, all of the students and Adam met and discussed details for the trip. Getting to know the strangers that I would be living with for two weeks overseas was necessary.

Streets of London

Streets of London – photo by Raelynn Padilla

During these meetings we discussed how the “class” aspect was going to go, what we needed to pack, more importantly HOW to pack, as well as forms and other necessities for departure. The most stressful aspect was the packing, from a girl’s perspective anyways. Considering we had no idea what the weather was going to be even though it was in the summer, we got rained on a day in London. We had to pack for the different businesses that we visited, too, as well as for any adventures we went on. Tennis shoes/walking shoes are HIGHLY recommended with the amount of walking.

When we arrived in London, it was much more than I imagined. I have dreamt of seeing these places since I was a child. It was surreal. Taking a double decker bus, having fish and chips, seeing Buckingham Palace, the London Bridge, Big Ben, and other “touristy” things were amazing. For our first business visit in London, we went to Parkour Generations, and, yes, we did partake in a little parkour action. That summer I realized how much core strength I did not have. However, Parkour Generations taught us that in business or in life, since obstacles are always around, it is not bad to look at different ways to go around them, and having people there to help you is okay.

Eiffel Tower at Night

Eiffel Tower at Night – photo by Raelynn Padilla

After our 4 days in London, we took a train ride to Paris for our next 3 days. In Paris, we saw the Eiffel Tower, from many different angles, the Notre Dame, we also saw the famous Mona Lisa in the Louvre. A few of us after an evening boat tour through Paris went and saw Moulin Rouge. That performance was phenomenal. Bucket list item checked off. I think the best part of Paris, France, for me was going to see Chateau de Versailles. There are no words to describe the beauty of that place, the artwork, the hall of mirrors, the gardens, just perfect. If you get the opportunity to go to France, definitely check out Versailles

On from three great days in Paris to a breathtaking 3 days in Zurich. Green and blue, that all I have to say to describe the views. We got the chance to go to Mount Pilatus in Luzern. It was a 20-minute ride in a 4-person gondola up to a 3.5-minute ride on a 30-person aerial cableway car. From the top of the mountains, the view looked exactly like they do in the National Geographic. After a couple of hours exploring, we went on to the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. A total of 40 minutes to go down the mountain. Waiting for us at the bottom was a boat that took us all the way back to Luzern. An hour and a half on the boat seeing the green mountains and grass, along with the beautiful blue sea, was the best boat ride I have been on so far.

Boat ride to Luzern

Boat ride to Luzern – photo by Raelynn Padilla

The last 2 days in Europe were spent in Milan, Italy. First off, the food was AMAZING! I love Italian food, maybe a little too much. Anyways, we went to the Duomo di Milano and got to walk along the top of it. To see the detailed architecture out of marble is indescribable. When we toured it, it was being cleaned, which we were told takes years because of the size and details. On the north side of the Duomo, is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is a high-end shopping mall. Names like Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, and even Ferrari.

Duomo, Milan

Duomo, Milan – photo by Raelynn Padilla

Along the way we had homework, which was to note the differences between these cities as well as the US. Differences from eating, dressing, to communicating, which I can speak for the other 11 students that went, there were many differences. One expects differences, but never expects the depths and details of every little thing you do on a daily basis. We learned how businesses run in each city. The interactions, the daily duties, expectation, and most importantly the etiquette of business. There were many adventures and sightseeing times, but the business aspects of the trip really put into perspective the uniqueness of the cultures around the world.

Why go again? This will be my second year going on this trip with Adam Shelffo, along with, hopefully, three other students that went last summer. I am super excited to go with these guys. You create a little family that you have to depend on across the ocean. These are the people you lean on when you run into obstacles, like still trying to figure out which way to look when crossing the streets of London. The people that you laugh when you get a little home sick, and remind you that you are on an amazing trip. The people that definitely help you with your homework last minute. Lastly, the people that you create amazing memories with and now have inside sayings and jokes that never get old. I am glad I went because I created friendships. I wish all 11 of those friends could join us again, but I am excited to create more friendships with the newcomers.

I am excited to learn about these new cities for this summer, Dublin, Amsterdam, and Brussels. I am excited to learn about the other new students that are going to be joining us. I am extremely excited that Terri Scrima will be joining our trip as well. She always has great assignments and lessons in her classes, so having her communications apart of the curriculum is going to make it a great class. Overall, I am looking forward to a fantastic experience.

For information, contact Adam Shelffo, adam.shelffo@arapahoe.edu or Terri Scrima, terri.scrima@arapahoe.edu or visit the ACC Study Abroad web page.

Pack your bags, grab your shades and come join us in the Danger Zone!

by Raelynn Padilla, ACC Student