Sustainable Safari

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is commonly overrun by groups of children or school trips. But in early November, the zoo hosted a different kind of field trip. More than 100 high school and college students attended a two-day Teen Eco Summit, featuring inspiring guest speakers, do-it-yourself workshops, and interesting animals. 

One of those guest speakers was Ohio State’s Mary Leciejewski. 

“The concept is that they’ll hear from various organizations throughout the city about how to implement sustainability at their school,” said Leciejewski, senior sustainability coordinator with Facilities Operations and Development (FOD). “The second day, they created a conservation plan they will take back and implement at their school.” 

The summit focused on creating positive change in their communities through the development of innovative sustainability projects. 

“You can just see that they’re already really passionate, and some of them were talking to me about things that they had already tried to do,” said Mallory Geresy, a senior majoring in Zoology, who is interning with Leciejewski. “I definitely think they’re going to be pushing on things that they want to do.” 

Workshops about sustainability initiatives equipped students with the tools to help encourage their peers to make more environmentally conscious choices. 

“We were really impressed with how logistical and technical the students were, giving serious consideration to practical solutions, not pie-in-the-sky ideas,” Geresy said.

Geresy added that the students brought enthusiasm and were asking plenty of questions. “The fact that they were talking about barriers they have to deal with shows how forward-thinking they already are as high school students,” she said.

This marks Leciejewski’s second year participating in the summit, and she looks forward to the great ideas that can come from next year’s summit.