What the “HEC?!?” Capping off a Fantastic Semester with a Deep Dive into Human Ecology

Maine Coast Semester reserves the last academic week of each semester for Human Ecology Capstone projects (this is often called HEC Week here on campus). Human ecology is the study of human interaction with the natural world, and HEC projects give students the opportunity to explore a topic of deep, personal interest, come to understand it in a holistic way, and present a viable course of action in response. Through their projects, students gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of the world’s ecosystems and practice the environmental literacy fostered in their other classes.

Semester 60 presented their HEC projects this Monday to faculty, peers, Chewonki staff, and numerous community members. This semester, all students were asked to focus on a human ecology issue in their home communities. Students chose to explore a wide variety of topics, from food waste and environmental education to sustainable fashion and beauty products. 

Here’s a quick recap of Semester 60 HECs:

Name

High School

Home Town

 Human Ecology Capstone

Miles

Croton-Harmon High School

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

KinderGARDEN; Evaluating the Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual Benefits of Outdoor Classroom Settings

Tzevi

Waynflete School

Waldoboro, ME

A Chirp off the Old Block; Teaching Youth to be Inspired by and Aware of the Natural World through Birdfeeders

Guy

Glen Ridge High School

Glen Ridge, NJ

Increasing Sustainability at Glen Ridge High School

Abigail

Match Charter Public High School

Boston, MA

The Usefulness of Community Gardens in Cities

Courtney

Brookline High School

Brookline, MA

Alternatives to Road Maintenance Salt in Brookline, MA

Grace

Concord-Carlisle High School

Carlisle, MA

Lettuce Eat; the Benefits of Hydroponic Lettuce

Dani

Ethical Culture Fieldston School

New York, NY

Food Waste and How It Intersects with Food Insecurity: At Fieldston and Beyond

Joey

Charlotte Country Day School

Charlotte, NC

Ecology Short Story; Demonstrating the Importance of Maintaining Sustainable Practices

Nico

Greely High School

Cumberland Center, ME

Effects of Warming in the Gulf of Maine on Lobstering

Blythe

The Nightingale-Bamford School

New York, NY

Introducing Safer, Green-Certified Cleaning Products to the Nightingale-Bamford School

Allie

Heights High School

Houston, TX

Environment and Society: A New Unit; A Curriculum that Includes Environment and Society for Heights High School

Hannah

Lakeside School

Seattle, WA

Food for Thought; A student-run Instagram that displays the “behind the scenes” work of the kitchen and the benefits of local food

Max

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Cambridge, MA

Bike Promotion in Cambridge; Proposal to Increase Biking by Adding a Repair Station and Safer Locking System

Devon

The Chapin School

New York, NY

My School Tries Something New: Composting!

Celia

Saint Ann’s School

New York, NY

Outdoor Education Through Art for Preschool Students

Leigh

Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

Santa Monica, CA

Together, Crossroads; A  Student Mentorship Program to Facilitate Teamwork, Leadership and Reflection

Anna

Garrison Forest School

Highland, MD

Dealing with Development; Raising Awareness for the Importance of Farmland in Highland, Maryland

Evie

Charlotte Country Day

Charlotte, NC

Water Justice for North Carolina; Raising Awareness for Water Quality Inequity

Charlie

Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

Pacific Palisades, CA

The Story of an Aimless Worm; A Children’s Book on Composting

Sarah

Newton South High School

Newton, MA

Sustainability at Summer Camp; Raising Awareness Around Recycling and Environmental Issues at my Summer Camp

Nick

Arlington High School

Arlington, MA

Greenhouse Waste Water Treatment in Arlington, MA

Howard

South Kent School

China

Why every American Boarding School Should Build an Environmental Therapy Program!

Amanda

Friends Seminary

New York, NY

Building on Energy Efficiency; Educating People on How Much Energy Their Buildings Consume 

Ashley

The Nightingale-Bamford School

New York, NY

Making Sustainable Personal Care Products Accessible

Bea

Hunter College High School

Brooklyn, NY

Introducing Place-Based Learning to Hunter College High School

Roxy

Shead High School

Eastport, ME

Human Ecology and the Gulf of Maine; How Can We Understand the Warming of the Gulf of Maine through the Lens of Human Ecology?

Maisey

Northampton High School

Florence, MA

Textile Recycling; Educating Students about the Social and Environmental Problems Created by Fast Fashion Culture

Booth

Central High School

St. Paul, MN

Land Ethic; Creating a Framework for a Sustainable Fashion Company

Fiona

The Thacher School

San Rafael, CA

Severe Drought in Ojai, California; Exploring the Short and Long-term Solutions and Citizen Initiatives

True

Packer Collegiate Institute

Brooklyn, NY

Gowanus Canal Clean Up; Raising Awareness For Volunteerism through Music

Eva

Carrboro High School

Chapel Hill, NC

Raising Awareness of Fruit Stickers in Compost & Soil

Bridget

The Chapin School

New York, NY

Being Green in NYC; Raising Awareness for Eco-Friendly Practices

Lorise

Match Charter Public High School

Boston, MA

School Food Distributors and Their Effect on Students in Boston, MA

Jess

Concord Academy

Elmhurst, NY

Reducing Food Waste by Addressing Food Insecurity

Amaya

Milton Academy

Newton, MA

Examining Wealth Inequity through Environmental Education in Boston Schools

Claire

Yarmouth High School

Yarmouth, ME

The Power of Protest Music: Climate Change in Maine

Alex

Greenwich Academy

Greenwich, CT

Tick Prevention and Awareness

Louisa

Concord-Carlisle High School

Concord, MA

Spreading Awareness Around Invasives in the Sudbury- Assabet- Concord River Watershed

Wyeth

Brunswick High School

Brunswick, ME

Sustainable Land-Based Salmon Farming

Sophie

F.W. Parker Charter Essential School

Littleton, MA

Sailing with a Purpose; Exploring Organizations with a Mission to Bring People Together through Sailing

Tamar

Moses Brown School

Riverside, RI

Connecting Refugees in Providence with Local Community Gardens

A few photos of students presenting their Human Ecology Capstones:

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