Retirees in Service to the Environment (RISE)
NOTE: RISE training will resume again in spring 2014. Watch this space for details later this winter.
Developed by a team of gerontologists from Cornell University and Ithaca College, RISE was based on research evidence about older adult learners and environmental education, and has evolved through pilots previously tested in Central New York and Sarasota, Florida. This comprehensive training program for retirees who wish to become involved in environmental volunteerism and civic engagement provides two types of learning experiences:
- Factual knowledge about pressing environmental issues such as water quality, climate change, waste management, air pollution, and other topics; and
- Training in leadership and communication skills that will increase the retiree stewards’ effectiveness in working in environmental organizations.
The Spring 2013 RISE program (April 5-May 17) was a joint project of the Ithaca College Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Ithaca College Natural Lands (ICNL), Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, and Longview, a residential community for older adults.
Jacob C. Brenner, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences and faculty manager for ICNL, was the primary IC faculty member involved.
“We are excited that RISE can involve local retirees in the programs underway on the Ithaca College Natural Lands,” Brenner says, “and that it also offers diverse opportunities for student involvement.”
“This type of trans-generational teaching and learning has a very important role to play in long-term land management and in solving long-term environmental problems. Collaboration among people from many walks of life is like collaboration across different academic disciplines—it opens great opportunities for creativity and innovation.”
Trainings were held Friday mornings at Longview, just up the road from the college. The program launched with an initial orientation session (April 5) and six two-hour workshops involved expert presentations, field trips, and experiential exercises to develop leadership skills. RISE culminated with group participants choosing a volunteer role in a local environmental organization, including but not limited to work on Ithaca College Natural Lands, with assistance by student interns.
Gray, Green and Active (article on retirees who volunteer for the environment)