Engineering new methods to assist the environment of their community, Diamond Bar High School’s AP Environmental Science classes have resumed the annual Your World projects this year.
Having been put on hold for two years due to distance learning, the semester-long assignment tasks students with designing, researching and promoting eco-friendly initiatives to improve the city of Diamond Bar or DBHS itself. In the past, these projects have led to the implementation of several sustainable facilities on the school’s campus such as the solar-powered parking infrastructure.
The Your World projects are entirely student-run and are a collaborative effort of an entire class period. Students elect leaders for several categories including marketing, research, design and public relations in addition to a president who ensures all sections are meeting their respective deadlines.
“Collaborating as a class has been a struggle as many of us have never worked in a group so large before. This level of communication and organization is one of the biggest issues to overcome,” junior Charleen Chen said. “Our class president pitches ideas for the project and we all decide on them by vote.”
One project this year, MonarchKey, involves the planting of milkweed and other native plants around the community to attract monarch butterflies. According to its members, the group wanted to focus on increasing biodiversity as well as pollination rates and pest control, which, they found, could be achieved through the reintroduction of monarch butterflies.
“We learned that monarchs have a very positive impact on the biodiversity of ecosystems,” junior Allan Lyu said. “We thought planting milkweeds would not only be a good way to bring them back to [California] in greater numbers, but also to improve the micro-ecosystem here on campus.”
In an effort to reduce clothing waste, Sustainable Snuggles aims to collect old t-shirts and other recyclable fabrics to make blankets. “We plan to advertise and spread as much information about the project as possible, such as at school rallies,” junior Ryan Hsu said. “We want to be able to raise as much awareness as possible in the months leading up to the due date and move on from there.”
Hsu said that due to the low costs needed for the project, the class intends to internally supply funds and supplies.
“We plan to get the project heard at least locally and currently have a prototype blanket. Our research team is trying to find a way to use it with both humans and animals,” he said.
For now, the groups are still in the entry phase of their projects with final judging taking place in May. According to APES teacher Kylance Malveaux, students will present to a select group of judges–usually retired environmentalists. However, due to COVID-19, there will be more reliance on staff on campus to fill this role. Projects will be judged based on criteria such as creativity and the impact their initiative had on the surrounding environment.
“Ever since the teachers introduced this project I have been excited to start, especially since my sister was successful with hers six years prior,” Chen said. “As someone who wants to make positive changes in the world, this is a big opportunity for me as I was able to watch the project grow and bring developments to the environment.”