Margaret Frick, Wendy Cohen, Allyson Greene, Renee Shaw, and Laurie Sullivan
The winning program, “Rock the Refuge: Connecting Children with Nature”, was developed by Frick, Cohen, Greene, Shaw, and Sullivan for students at K.W. Barrett Elementary School. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to understand and appreciate the importance of conserving the great outdoors. Through the program, students will use local wildlife refuges, the park, and the school yard to engage scientific inquiry focused on conservation. Participants will conduct investigations through their own inquiries as they strive to answer their school research question: “What observations can be made about birds, animals, and trees in our schoolyard, park, and refuge habitats as seasons change?” During the project, students will take field trips to three local refuges and go on walking trips to the local park and around their schoolyard. They will also learn information from specialists such as a park ranger, nature photographer, botanist, and the Americorps conservation team. Using digital cameras purchased with the ING grant funds, students will document changes and collect data to ultimately design a digital scavenger hunt for other students. The collaborative project will commence with students taking a leadership role in the next generation of conservationists as they share what they learned with other students across the nation.