Campus wide, College of Education

Wump what? Alum teaches environmental history class

By Jan Joslin | April 25, 2023
Raleigh West and Carol Poole

Carol Poole, a historian and educator, teaches a unique class which is a collaboration between the Berkeley Soil and Water Conservation District, Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust, and the CSU College of Education. Poole is a 1970 alumnus.

The class, Avoiding the Wump World, Preserving the Past, Protecting the Present, Promising a Future, takes the idea of protecting natural resources from a children’s book by Bill Peet named The Wump World. The class for teachers working on graduate or continuing education credit is a combination of science and social studies standards. Teachers take what they learn back into the classroom, impacting the next generation.

Poole said, “[The Wump World] tells about a world where friendly, peaceful, trusting creatures called Wumps were overtaken by greedy visitors from space who destroyed their home while mining for resources. The Wumps were driven from their beautiful home and forced to live underground. The message is a clear warning to all, but especially to children that we must protect and preserve the world in which we live, or it will become unlivable. For monumental changes to take place, we must look to the children; in order to reach the children, we must first reach the teachers.”

Poole taught the Environmental History of Berkeley County for the first time in 2014. Keith Gourdin of the Berkeley Soil and Water Conservation District approached her about creating a program that would help teachers understand the amazing environment and history of Berkeley County.

The BSWCD and the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust have partnered with the class from the very beginning. “We read books and articles on the topic, have speakers who are experts in their various areas, take field trips to sites of interest and importance in helping teachers understand the urgency, and work together to develop ways in which they can share the message with their students,” said Poole.

Poole said BSWCD and LBCT provide speakers, reading materials, and access to sites that are not readily available to the public. In the past the class has visited such sites as Fort Fair Lawn, Francis Marion’s grave, and the Pineville Chapel. Along the way, teachers also learn about the area’s birds, animals, and the landscape, as well as soil and water conservation.

Raleigh West, executive director of Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust, and Carol Poole, class instructor, collaborate on a lesson. The natural landscape of Berkeley County factors into class discussions and trips. Understanding Berkeley County’s environment includes understanding the county’s history.

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