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Restore our Earth: NSYSU students remove invasive species in Chaishan Mountain

2021-04-29

(Provided by Department of Sociology) The annual Earth Day falls on April 22nd. The faculty and students of National Sun Yat-sen University protect the natural environment with concrete actions! Associate Professor Hua-Mei Chiu of the Department of Sociology, NSYSU, started the Service Learning: Learning to be Sustainable via Experiencing and Voluntary Activities course. With the support of the team of the USR Project: The City as a Commuseum – Socially Embedded Community Engagement, she invited Mr. Chih-Nan Fu, an experienced environmental educator and ecology specialist of the foundation Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, to teach the course students about the ecology of Chaishan Mountain and guide them to remove an invasive species in that area in a field trip on the day before the Earth Day. The event was a response to the theme of the 51st anniversary of this annual event – “Restore Our Earth”. The students learned ways to restore the natural environment and care for the Earth.

Professor Chiu had already invited Fu the previous academic year to teach the students of the service-learning course about Chaishan Mountain and the nearby coastline and engage in invasive species removal and beach clean-up. This year, she invited him once again to teach about the history and natural ecology of Chaishan more in-depth. The students visited Shiaosi Shell Mound – the historic relics left by the Makatao indigenous community that used to live there, learned about the possible ecological impact of the sand dam, and experienced the greatness of Taiguo Valley and large banyan trees.

Chih-Nan Fu said that Chaishan has a rich landscape and ecology, however, it was invaded by foreign species, which threaten the survival of native organisms. One of them is the golden pothos, a common ornamental plant with a strong survival ability, widespread in the wild, that grows both on the ground and rocky walls. For this event, the team removed 30 kilograms of golden pothos – an equivalent of 6 bags of fertilizer. The plants will be composted in the vegetable garden on the rooftop of the College of Social Sciences and used as fertilizer.

Professor Chiu said that more than half of the course students haven’t visited Chaishan Mountain before, although it lies in the proximity of the campus, and that the field trip on the day before the Earth Day let them get to know better the environment of the campus and its surroundings. She hopes that the students will contribute to environmental sustainability with practical actions. A sophomore student of the Department of Sociology, Sheng-Wen Ko said that although he studies at NSYSU, he barely had the opportunity to hike in Chaishan. The trip allowed him to see a different landscape, contribute to the removal of invasive species, and take action to care for the environment. What’s more, the removed plants can be turned into a fertilizer for the rooftop garden in the College of Social Sciences, and provide nutrition for the vegetables grown.

The volunteers for this semester's course in Sustainable Development and Service Experience at NSYSU are repair café volunteers, climate volunteers, and rooftop garden volunteers. The volunteers helping out with administration during repair café events organized in collaboration with Kaohsiung First Community University and the local Home Appliance Clinic, conducted a survey on energy transition during the Megaport Festival with the Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, and managed the vegetable garden on the rooftop of the College of Social Sciences.

(Edited by Public Affairs Division)
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