University of Illinois students will be teaming up with local elementary and middle school students on December 2 at a Community Stewardship Fair in the Robeson Pavilion at the Champaign Public Library from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

The fair is the final event in a service-learning course—NRES 285: Community Stewardship through Environmental Education—in which 16 students use Nab the Aquatic Invader!, a science-based website, and other interactive resources to bring the issue of aquatic invasive species to local schools, including Stratton Elementary School, Franklin Middle School and Urbana Middle School.

Under the guidance of their student leaders, the local school children formed community partnerships with local organizations, such as the Champaign County Forest Preserve District and a WILL radio spot—Environmental Almanac —to create community stewardship projects, which will be used by the partners in the future.

One partner, the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, will provide the location for “Scrub Your Boat Before You Float!,” a new ongoing exhibit and community stewardship project. The children have also written a skit that they will perform on November 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the museum. Other partnership projects include public service announcements and public information materials.

The fair—hosted by the U of I Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, IISG and the U of I Center for Teaching Excellence—gives the University students and the children an opportunity to present their projects to the public. “This is an empowering opportunity for the students to showcase their exemplary work and to interact with family, friends, and the public in an educational forum that is both engaging and meaningful,” says IISG Education Specialist Terri Hallesy.