Eureka Springs student participates in Smithsonian project

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Chloe Kirk

The Smithsonian Institution has awarded $500 to Mid-America Science Museum to support its work with a group of students from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA). The participating students include Eureka Springs High School senior Chloe Kirk.

The museum has been collaborating with Dr. Lindsey Waddell, a geoscience instructor at the school, for several months to develop a teen-designed and led project addressing an environmental issue of concern to them. On Jan. 26, the students presented their plan to Smithsonian officials to help combat the issue of invasive plants in Hot Springs National Park by cultivating a garden comprised of native flora to support and attract pollinating insects. The Smithsonian award to the museum will support the students’ action plan to design and install a native pollinator garden for the ASMSA campus. The teens have six months to executive their project and to send a short video about what they did with the funding to the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian project was created to bring teens together from all parts of the country to learn about and discuss their concerns about the environment. The Smithsonian will offer a paid internship to a teen from one of nine partner communities this spring to track the progress on all the action plans over the next six months and to promote their progress through blogs and social media posts.

“We were so impressed with the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the students’ action plan,” said Jennifer Brundage and Brian Coyle, the project’s director’s at the Smithsonian Institution. “Their research and proposal revealed a deep understanding not only of their physical environment but of their community needs as well.”

“Teens are uniquely positioned to be leaders in environmental action given the threats to their future and their fearless and optimistic approach to problem-solving,” said Brundage and Coyle. “Through its affiliate partners, the Smithsonian is excited by this opportunity to empower students to be the transformational changemakers and environmental leaders we know they are. We are deeply invested in their success.”

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