Kyla M. Scheuermann, a 2005 Greencastle High School graduate and student at Ball State University took part in a U. S.-Brazil Sustainability Consortium last summer. An article about her experience has just been published in the November-December edition of Indiana Nursery and Landscape News Magazine.
Scheuermann is a senior at Ball State University and will graduate in 2010 with a major in Landscape Architecture and a minor in Studio Art. She spent the past summer in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande de Sol working on an exchange program creating designs for the Villa Pinot, a shanty-town (favelas) bordering Porto Alegre, to help create a safer and more aesthetically welcoming environment for visitors.
In her article, Scheuermann recalls making many; trips to the community's Centro de Educacao Ambiental (CEA; Center of Environmental Education).
"The center plays a huge role in the favela by providing a steady source of work for the adults and educational classes for students," said Scheuermann.
"As foreigners living in a very different society, these excursions and sharing of Brazilian student life energized us and assured us that our efforts to better the harsh conditions of Villa Pinto were not in vain," stated Scheuermann in her article.
Among the many projects her group worked on were the renovation of the community soccer park, a paneled entry stand for marketing, canopy space for outside enclosure, a horse deterrent system using PVC pipe, an outdoor green space to address water runoff and exterior classroom space and stream bank restoration using recycled tires.
Specifically, Scheuermann was involved with two other students focusing on the outdoor green space, exterior classroom space and stream bank restoration.
Her idea for the stream bank restoration using recycled tires staggered to house vegetation worked so well that she recently presented it to the Greencastle Parks and Recreation Center to help with a drainage issue they have near the softball field.
Scheuermann credits being able to pursue her goals to her father, Curt Scheuerman, who passed away in October 2007, to her 21st Century Scholarships, Mitch Daniel Scholarship and her mother Myrna.
"She encouraged Kyla and all her siblings to pursue their dreams," said her grandparents Bob and Mary Gaston.
Scheuermann's older sister Jessica graduated from Anderson College and her brother Brett attends Vincennes University.
Her sister Carissa and her mother attend Ivy Tech. Her youngest sister Lokysa, age 11 thinks she may follow in her big sisters footsteps with a career in art or outdoor activity.
Scheuermann is not done traveling yet as she plans to do a similar project in Italy beginning in January 2009.
Her grandparents Bob and Mary Gaston live in Limedale and her mother and siblings still at home live in Greencastle.
"Getting involved in a community project is making a mere footprint in a society hoping that other societies notice what can be accomplished and adding to what has been done to make that footprint part of life's beauty," related Scheuermann.