Diana Ramirez, who graduated from RU in May 2017 as the university’s first double-major in Sociology and Sustainability Studies, has just published an article in the Chicago news publication, South Side Weekly. Her October 10th essay, “Scavenging the South Lakefront,” explains “how data is informing the development of the Burnham Wildlife Corridor” along the city’s southern lakefront. As Diana notes in her article’s introduction:
[A] series of art installations has transformed open park space into gathering spaces. Through this initiative, Roots and Routes (R&R)—a network of major institutions and South Side community organizations working to break down barriers and connect people, especially communities of color, to local green spaces—hope to open up an opportunity for residents to explore a new form of urban green space.
Along with community organizations in Bronzeville, Chinatown, and Pilsen, the Chicago Park District and the Field Museum worked with local artists to co-curate art installations depicting the ecological and cultural significances of their communities. The sites for the gathering spaces that resulted were placed strategically along the wood chip paths that weave in and out of the newly restored natural areas of the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (BWC). These gathering spaces are intended to help residents engage with the new natural areas by inviting them to participate in the decision-making and implementation processes and encouraging cross-cultural community engagement through a series of events and ecological stewardship programming.
Read the entire article here. And congratulations to Diana on this exemplary work of environmental journalism that exemplifies how community-focused urban ecology research integrates the social and natural sciences.
Diana Ramirez (BA ’17) is the first SUST major to graduate with a double-major in Sociology, a landmark accomplishment that coincided with the merger of the two programs in the new Department of Sociology, Sustainability, & Community Development. She completed an internship at the Field Museum, worked as a summer steward on the WB Rooftop Garden in 2017 as a new alum, and also participated in the Field Museum’s Urban Ecology Field Lab program that same summer. She currently works as a Direct Support Professional AND Garden Club co-founder/leader at Community Support Services in Brookfield IL, and advocates for community resilience in her hometown of Berwyn IL. Diana also serves as a Roots & Routes summer intern at the Field Museum and as a volunteer organizer for the annual One Earth Film Festival.