During my three-day Princeternship experience, I shadowed Jeffrey Rosalsky ’85, the Executive Director for the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC). I had the opportunity to see how this private nonprofit was working with the National Park Service in the Delaware Water Gap to provide its students with a deep understanding of nature, environmental processes, and sustainability. Mr. Rosalsky was very dynamic and reveled in the opportunity to show me around his office, the EcoZone, and various parts of the education center. He was also eager to discuss how his work experiences finally brought him to environmental education, which was by no means a direct route.
On the first day, I sat in on a student course and helped the teaching staff with morning classes. After assisting the staff with the EcoZone course, I sat in on Mr. Rosalsky’s conference call with a Princeton alumnus from the Princeton AlumniCorps to plan more environmentally friendly retrofitting in some of the residential buildings at PEEC. Mr. William Woodrow ’70 was very excited to help with the cause, and also seemed excited to meet me. Mr. Woodrow came to PEEC two days later to discuss projects in further detail with Mr. Rosalsky. I also sat in on another business meeting with building contractors.
On the second day, after assisting the teaching staff with another morning class, I helped develop the sustainability exhibit for the EcoZone to teach students the value of saving electricity. The sustainability exhibit consisted of a basic bicycle-powered electricity generator called a “Pedal-A-Watt” attached to a 12 VDC converter with attachable appliances to teach students how much more energy heating appliances consume, and the value of saving electricity. I worked on developing the sustainability exhibit to include different light bulbs, such as incandescent, CFL, and LED, to teach the students about how energy consuming lights are, if left on excessively. I later updated the sustainability curriculum’s lesson plan to include my additions to the exhibit, as well as energy consumption calculations for all the appliances used. I then proofread and edited grant proposals in Mr. Rosalsky’s office. After that, I helped Mr. Rosalsky and his children collect tree sap to make his famous maple syrup.
On the third day, I started by continuing my work on the EcoZone sustainability exhibit. I sat in on a meeting with Mr. Woodrow and Mr. Rosalsky after having spoken to Mr. Woodrow during the conference call two days earlier. We showed Mr. Woodrow around PEEC and Mr. Rosalsky discussed his future plans for the education center, and taught Mr. Woordrow and myself a great deal about Fracking and Nuclear energy from his energy computer model.
The most valuable part of my experience was developing the sustainability exhibit and editing the lesson plans for the sustainability curriculum. I had to do quite a bit of research on energy consumption and learned quite a bit about energy conservation in the process. I also valued hearing about Mr. Rosalsky and his wife’s non-linear work experiences after graduating from Princeton. They had very interesting paths, which led them to where they are now, and that was definitely very enlightening. Moreover, staying with the Rosalsky family was a pleasure and I literally felt like their fourth child. I would recommend this Princeternship to anyone interested in either Education or the Environment.