Welcome Home Ashley Hollenbeck '06 ~ Back from Peace Corps in Morocco

Ashley, an environmental studies major, joins recruiter Catherine Swanson to share her Peace Corps experience. First ten students to RSVP careerdc@pacificu.edu can enjoy lunch with Ashley and Catherine Tuesday October 13th in the UC Fireside Lounge.

Ashley Hollenbeck '06 served as a Peace Corps volunteer working for the Tamga Site of Biological/Ecological Importance (SIBE) located in the Azilal Province of Morocco. She worked with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Water/ Forests, and a local NGO addressing the issues of environmental education, waste management, and ecotourism. Hollenbeck designed a curriculum guide to use in classrooms and clubs throughout the region and trained teachers on how to implement environmental awareness in their schools.

The exploitation and overuse of natural resources is a growing problem in Morocco, particularly in rural areas. As an Environmental Studies major, Hollenbeck is no stranger to conservation and restoration.  She believes that educating youth will help ensure the survival of native plant and animal species essential for community members future livelihood and quality of life.

Transporting and planting over 1,400 trees with only two weeks notice established Hollenbeck's credibility with the local community. She distributed a mix of Carob, Cyprus, and Eucalyptus trees to 40 farmers in the outlying agricultural area and helped school children plant the remaining trees on school grounds of five local schools. Hollenbeck's next challenge is to bring her environmental awareness curriculum to the classroom. She needed resources to encourage both students and teachers to participate in the curriculum.

Hollenbeck provided each participant with a small kit of school supplies including crayons, markers, colored pencils, water colors, scissors, glue, erasers, pens, pencils, etc. Hollenbeck hoped this simple gesture provided an incentive for teachers to diversify their curriculum to include environmental education components.

Moroccan teachers face a shortage of school supply resources. Many teachers purchase supplies out of their own pocket due to the lack of funding and resources. In response to this need, Hollenbeck mobilized family and friends to help in gathering supplies. She adds, "There have been many people who have expressed interest in helping out while I am working over here, and I think I have figured out a way for people from home to contribute in a small way if they wish to."  

Pacific students, staff, and faculty supported Ashley's environmental education project in Morocco by donating new and used school supplies for Hollenbeck's sister, mother, and grandmother delivered during a summer visit to Morocco.

Ashley joins Peace Corps recruiter Catherine Swanson for a noon program October 13th in the UC Fireside Lounge. First ten students to RSVP careerdc@pacificu.edu can join Ashley and Catherine for lunch prior to the official program.

Posted by Career Development Center (careerdevelopmentctr@pacificu.edu) on Oct 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

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