Glenville State College student authors publish environmental essays

GLENVILLE, WV – The Glenville State College (GSC) Department of Language and Literature has announced the publication of A Rational Species: Essays on the Environment. The book is a collaborative work created by students in Melissa Gish’s Spring 2020 semester Research Writing course. The students conducted research on a variety of environmental topics, wrote essays, and submitted their work for publication. Dr. Rico Gazal, Professor of Forestry in the Department of Land Resources, wrote an introduction for the book. Gish, an Associate Professor of English at GSC, produced the book and submitted it for publication in both paperback and e-book formats.

The collection of essays explores a variety of environmental challenges that our planet and its inhabitants are currently facing, including pollution, deforestation, poaching, and the effects of climate change. “From endangered species such as the Grauer’s gorilla and the leatherback sea turtle to entire ecosystems under threat on land and in the sea, the range of topics in this book takes readers around the globe, from the Arctic tundra to the Australian Outback and from mountaintops to the ocean floor. Combining scientific inquiry with passionate optimism, these student essays explain not only the dangers of various environmental problems on Earth, but also the value of potential solutions,” Gish said.

“I wanted the class to have the experience of contributing to the body of research and knowledge that the public relies on to make informed decisions about caring for our environment and participating in combatting the effects of climate change. I hoped that guiding students along the path to publication would inspire them to continue reading, researching, and sharing important information about the future of our global environment. They did a great job on their projects, and I’m very proud of them,” Gish added.

Working in cooperation with the GSC Foundation, the student authors will be donating all of the proceeds from the sale of A Rational Species to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Students first nominated several environmental organizations to receive their support and then voted, agreeing to support the WCS, a non-governmental organization headquartered at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. It aims to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 14 priority regions.

Currently, the WCS is at work on some 500 projects in more than 60 nations around the world that are intended to help protect both wildlife and the wild places in which they live. The organization endeavors to protect 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity—from the gorillas of Africa and the tigers of Asia to macaws in South America and the sharks, whales, and turtles traveling through the planet’s seas. The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Melanesia Program focuses on conservation in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. In collaboration with the Madagascar Ministry of Environment and Forests, the WCS launched a program to create the nearly one-million-acre Makira Forest Protected Area. The WCS partnered with the carbon-reduction platform Cool Effect to allow users to fund ongoing carbon-reduction projects directly supporting the Makira Natural Park. The WCS has actively worked in conflict areas such as Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar, where agreements on wildlife resources have contributed to peace and stability.

Contributing writers are Taylor Adkison, Kyra Bauer, Kylie Davis, Jonathan Dodson, Abigail Dye, Bradley F. Hall, Jessica R. Jenkins, Shayne Miller, Oluwatobi Oladapo, Adam L. Osborne, Jazmon Pennington, Lori K. Ray, Brogan Richards, Heather Sears, Paula Snyder, and Trey Waycaster.

“It’s exciting to be a published author in a book that can show others that some species are in danger of going extinct. Some people may not realize that their favorite animal could be heading to extinction and this could open their eyes to the issues,” said Pennington, a criminal justice major from Hedgesville, West Virginia.

“Having the ability to contribute even a small part to this collection was rewarding. I believe that some very pertinent issues were brought to light, with my subject being native red spruce forests. These wonders deserve all the focus that recent history has allotted them and more so,” said Osborne, a native of Rupert, West Virginia who is focusing on natural resource management with a concentration in forest technology.

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