Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve
Fall 2014 Educators Newsletter
IN THIS ISSUE:
Walking trails are open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.
Bunker Interpretive Center (BIC) hours
Closed weekends and holidays.
1750 East Beltline Ave. SE
During the 2014-2015 academic year, all our educational programming will be financially assisted by The Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation. We are truly grateful for their generous support of our elementary school visits, Critters & Company, First Saturdays, adult education, and spring break programs. This grant will allow thousands of adults, families, and children to experience nature first hand during our various educational programs. It will also give more than a dozen Calvin students work experience, preparing them for future careers in science and education.
New! Professional Development
There has been a lot of discussion about the profound shift taking place in America, in which today’s generation of children is the first to grow up indoors. Their plugged-in lives are often devoid of exploring the natural world. If children are detached from nature, how will they learn about, understand, and value nature? How will the next generation care about the land and be stewards of its resources? Many studies have shown the health benefits of learning about the environment outdoors: better reasoning skills, improved focus, academic achievement in core subjects, greater interest in learning overall, more physical activity.
In light of this shift, we are pleased to offer Project Learning Tree and Project WILD professional development workshops. These are two of the most widely taught environmental education and conservation programs, by formal and non-formal kindergarten through high school teachers. The programs have been used by over one million educators, in all 50 states, for more than 30 years.
Both programs have created quality curriculum materials, representing the work of peers in the fields of education and natural resource management from across the country. Project Learning Tree and Project WILD provide educators with award winning resources to engage their students. Their interdisciplinary curriculum has been rigorously evaluated for effectiveness and meeting state educational standards. Educators see these programs positively impacting student knowledge about, and attitudes toward, the natural world.
At these lively and inspiring professional workshops, participants are introduced to Project Learning Tree or Project WILD materials, activities, and strategies. Through hands-on demonstrations of interactive activities, educators gain the experience and confidence needed to work with their students and integrate the programs into their teaching. With a large number of outdoor activities, the workshops will give you the tools and resources you need to make outdoor learning part of your lesson plan. These programs are easy to implement, easy to adapt to various ages, and promote active participation and cooperative learning.
Workshops available at the Ecosystem Preserve, or at your location, are:
For more information about the workshops, click here.
Register Today for Fall Programs
Fall program topics for Pre-K to 6th grade include: Sensory Adventures, Amazing Animals, Terrific Trees, and Beech Maple Forest Exploration. These programs provide information about our local ecosystem and the flora and fauna of West Michigan, encourage stewardship, and help students develop a sense of place.
Fall programs run from October 1–November 14. Programs are 90 minutes in length, and cost $3 per student. Currently, National Heritage Academy schools are eligible to attend our programs free of charge, thanks to a funding grant.
For more information visit our website, or contact Julie Wilbourn to register your class. To register, we will need your name and school, desired program topic, grade level, number of students and adults, preferred dates/times, and the best way to contact you.
Inspiring Ideas for the Classroom
Each newsletter, we will share with you some our favorite ways to get students outside learning about the natural environment. You do not need to have forests or fields surrounding your school; school yards can work just as well for experiential learning. Our school yard activities are hands-on, require few supplies, and are easily adaptable to meet your students’ needs. We will also share with you some of our favorite storybooks, art projects, and other resources to enhance learning in the classroom. Additional ideas and photos of art projects and storybooks can be found on our Pinterest page.
Many of us remember making hand print turkeys in elementary school. Turkeys are synonymous with the Thanksgiving holiday, and always seem to show up in the classroom during the fall season. Not only are they showing up in the classroom, but wild turkeys are being spotted all throughout the city of Grand Rapids. Huge flocks live right in the middle of our city, and can be seen roosting in trees in our backyards, or strutting up and down city sidewalks. You might even discover signs of them on your school playground. Looking back, you would never know that at one time the wild turkey was almost extinct due to over hunting and habitat loss. By 1900, wild turkeys were extirpated from Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and other conservation and hunting organizations worked together to reintroduce the wild turkey to Michigan. Today, they have adapted to living in both rural and urban areas, and their population has soared. Their return is considered one of the greatest wildlife conservation stories in America’s history. Turkeys are fascinating, and I invite you and your students to learn more about these familiar birds.
Did you know?
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES & KITS
All About Birds: Wild Turkey - The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website has lots of interesting information on the life history of the turkey, including cool facts, habitat, diet, nests, and behavior.
Storybooks are wonderful tools to introduce students to science topics. Information about these books can be found on our Pinterest page. Many of them have accompanying teacher’s guides on the publisher’s homepage.
Below are some of our favorite storybooks and non-fiction books about turkeys.
ART PROJECT: Wild Turkey Camouflage Puppet
Calvin College | 3201 Burton St. SE | Grand Rapids, MI, 49546 USA | www.calvin.edu