Teachers studying environmental programs

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Some educators received an opportunity to study three nationally recognized environmental programs in one day. About two dozen gathered at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center to learn how to take ideas and form them into lessons.

Educators learned about Project Wild, Project Wet and Project Learning tree to teach their students all aspects of nature and the environment.

Shasta Jarmon, who teaches at Jacksonville says environmental teaching can be difficult, especially in urban areas. "In the city there's not nature, you can't go outside and find the lakes and the rivers. And see all the birds and see all the wildlife. So it's harder in the city to teach all the environmental issues."

Over the course of the day, two instructors, Phillip Osborne from ADEQ and Rob Beadel from the Arkansas Forestry Association took turns teaching about water, wildlife and the environment.

One good thing about this workshop is that was very very hands-on orientated.

Beadel, "Our programs are all interactive. We are all about hands-on, getting the teachers up and involved and participating in the activities."

Duck migration, the life cycle of water and custom designed fish are all part of activities that teachers will have access to in take home materials.

Jarmon, "We'll get books, one for wet, one for wild and one for PLT. It has all the resources, breaks down the lessons for us all the things we'll need to teach all the lessons we've learned here."

Beadel, "Some teachers don't like getting the kids and the students outside. That's taking them out of their comfort zone. We're just hoping to give them the tools to take them outside and do some creative activities for them."

And amongst these educators were budding poets. They each had to compose something about trees.

Beadel says Science teachers may not be comfortable with poetry and English teachers may not be comfortable with science. "This activity" he says, "Combines the two to produce some surprising results.

Here are a couple of examples:

Monica Weisenfels, "It was so cozy under the branches we hid, when I was a kid."

Dennis Dean, "Trees evoke memories of planting and watching them grow of childhood adventures in tree houses..."

Gwen Hewett, "Oh the mimosa, so beautiful in Spring, oh so painful it's switch."

One really cool thing about all this is that there was no charge to the teachers. All of it, including the teaching guides are paid for by the 1/8th cent conservation sales tax.

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