Becky Freiburg

Students of Becky Freiberg

Becky Freiberg from Gooding, Idaho has been a science teacher at Gooding High School for the past 21 years. She and her students have created a fun way of learning about and advocating for endangered species by combining performing arts and civics.

Each year, my environmental science students learn about wildlife conservation by researching various endangered species. They then create music videos that highlight information about their selected species, including bio-facts and the reasons their animal is endangered. When creating their music videos, students are reminded that the goal is to create awareness and communicate to their peers the importance of why their species needs our help.

I have assigned this endangered species project for several years, but it was my students who had the idea to add another component to the assignment – as a class, we would review each music video and then vote on the species that we would then symbolically adopt from WWF. This leads to the students having a vested interest in making quality presentations because each student wants his/her animal to win and ultimately be adopted. The more my students learned about endangered species, the more they wanted to act. Simply learning about them was not enough; they wanted to do something. I now have a set of shelves in my classroom where I display all of our adopted animals from current and past years.

My students always come away from this project feeling humbled; it triggers emotions and inspires them to make changes. It leads to many discussions about ecological and carbon footprints, invasive species, pollution, overharvesting, and habitat destruction. This project has sparked an interest in conservation for many of my students. Each year, I have more and more students that decide to pursue further education in environmental science and conservation.

I think it is essential for students to learn about these topics. They are the future, and we need educated individuals to help solve the many issues that are impacting our world. Maybe their future innovations will make the world a better place.