Through a course on the campus of Philomath High School, students are expanding their knowledge of worldwide issues. Putting up a fight to help endangered species has been a focus for the class in recent weeks.
Students went to work on an awareness project that culminated this past Saturday afternoon with an event to raise money while educating the public on the threat of extinction. The class chose to focus on the red wolf, Asian elephant, bee and the axolotl (an amphibian also known as a Mexican salamander).
"I think this whole awareness project is extremely important for just finding out what's out there and what's going on in the world and making connections between human interaction and the environment," junior Julian Chiappisi-Livermore said. "I think it's a really good project to put on and I think hosting the documentary is really going to help, give some perspective."
Geoffrey Lake teaches the Global Seminar class, which is offered to juniors and seniors. The course syllabus describes it as a "discussion and project-based class meant to empower students by allowing them an in-depth look at issues of concern for the greater global village."
Each of the four endangered species is connected to a specific group of animals. The 18-student class voted on which species they wanted to adopt.
Junior Aidan Goff said the "Racing Extinction" documentary was discovered online and Lake put in for a library copy of the film to play at the event. In the 2015 documentary, scientists predicted that half of the species on the planet will be extinct by the end of the 21st century.
For the film, Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos assembled a team of artists and activists who were intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that expose issues of endangered species and mass extinction.
Along with the screening of the film, "Racing Extinction," the students staged a silent auction and raffle to raise money for the cause. Those who donated received a button that illustrates an endangered species. Students also worked on decorations for the event.
"We're thinking of donating to the World Wildlife Fund, but also sponsoring a certain species, one of the four, for an entire year," Goff said. "It's a subscription you buy and you send money monthly for that species."
The World Wildlife Fund is an organization that dates back to the early 1960s. In fact, one of its first projects focused on the red wolf, one of the Philomath High class's chosen species.
The class has an account set up for donations at the high school's front office. Even though the awareness event has passed, those who want to donate can do so by stopping by the office.