Critical Language Scholarship Program | Friends of the Sundarbans
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Friends of the Sundarbans

Calynn Dowler (Bangla 2016), Sarah Dodamead (Bangla 2016), Paige Giarmona (Bangla 2016), Deya Maldas (Bangla 2013, 2016), Marshall McCollum (Bangla 2014), and Ian Reed (Bangla 2014), 2016 ADF recipients, collaborated to create a project focused on youth education, environmental conservation, and the promotion of the Bengali language. The group’s India-based team (Dowler, McCollum, and Reed) took high school students from Kolkata to Basanti Block in the West Bengal Sundarbans (the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest) to lead a two-day environmental education and art workshop with local children. The team then returned to Kolkata, where they spent the next four months writing, translating, and designing a children’s book.

The goals for the text were to educate children in Kolkata and the U.S. about the Sundarbans and the threats posed to it by environmental degradation and climate change. The story centers on a crow from the city who gets blown to the Sundarbans in a storm. Along the way, she meets different species from the Sundarbans, reflects on human-induced threats to the forest (pollution, climate change, etc.), and shares models for both positive and negative human-environment interaction. Additionally, the students designed an accompanying lesson plan that delves more deeply into the science behind environmental threats and climate change. The book, titled “Friends of the Sundarbans,” was published on March 23, 2017 in English and Bengali and has since been used in environmental education sessions at a Kolkata-based NGO, distributed to children in the Sundarbans, and approximately 500 copies have been sent to the U.S. for distribution in several states.

Calynn Dowler
Bangla 2016

Sarah Dodamead
Bangla 2016

Paige Giarmona
Bangla 2016

Deya Maldas
Bangla 2013
Bangla 2016

Marshall McCollum
Bangla 2014

Ian Reed
Bangla 2014

Posted Date

June 01, 2017