Fall 2022 intern Seth decided to complete one of the activities that accompany lesson plans created for the Kirsten Stolle: Only You Can Prevent A Forest exhibition.
To accompany Only You Can Prevent A Forest, a set of K-12 lesson plans was created by Katie Brash, a 3rd grade math teacher in the Charleston County School District. These lesson plans encompass 5th grade ELA and Earth Science, 8th grade Science, and 10th grade History or Civics, providing a path for deeper interdisciplinary engagement with the exhibition. The most intriguing plan, to me, is the 10th-grade lesson incorporating History and Civics that puts the students in the position of farmers post World War II. In the 2-day lesson, the students learn about the agricultural economy of the 1940s and the creation of Monsanto produced agrichemicals. At the end of the lesson, the class is instructed to write a letter to the local government from the perspective of a farmer arguing for or against the use of agrichemicals.
Over the past few decades, the detrimental effects of agrichemicals such as DDT and PCB have swayed me in the direction of opposing their usage. Although the pressures of producing an adequate yield have weighed down on the farm, the health of the community and my family is far more important. Therefore, despite the widespread usage of weed killers like 2,4-D, my farm would like to instead not be associated with companies like Monsanto due to their dark past. Regardless of some agrichemicals proposed “safety,” I’d like to keep my crops free of anything that could affect the consumers.
Not only do these pesticides pose a threat to general health, but they can also be detrimental to the environment. Regardless of my yield during any given year, my farmland is my business; without it, my family will suffer, and so will the communities that rely on my produce. To keep both my land and I healthy, all I ask is the use of these products be strictly regulated and not used on my farm,
Thank you for your time,
It should be noted that students can write letters to their representatives from their own life experience lend as well. We all know that it is important to encourage the next generation of voters to participate in political, locally and nationally! Students in South Carolina can find their representatives on the SC Sate House website at https://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php They can also find the meeting minutes and committee members for South Carolina’s House and Senate Committees, such as the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee, at https://www.scstatehouse.gov/committeeinfo.php