Calling All Educators! If you’re a teacher, a librarian or an environmental educator, we want to know what you think about our posters, books, documentary films—and even the publication you’re reading right now. How can we improve them? What new kinds of educational materials do you need?
Over the next year, we’re going to expand our educational work, and hearing from and meeting with educators is a critical part of determining how we should do that.
As part of the process, we’ve begun offering a series of teacher workshops. The first two took place at the Davinci Science Center in Allentown and the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg.
Attendees, who ranged from elementary school teachers and college professors to zoo educators and public television producers, got a private screening of our newest documentary, “Dangerous Invasions,” which looks at invasive plants in the commonwealth, and received copies of our newest books and posters.
We also asked the attendees to fill out a questionnaire evaluating our current educational efforts and offering suggestions about what else we could be doing. Here’s what we’ve heard so far:
- Any educational materials we produce should be tied to the environmental education standards and anchors. As a result, we’re talking with the Department of Education to see how we can do that.
- While our 30-minute documentaries are good for a general audience, they’re not well-suited to school students. Consequently, we’re investigating the possibility of making a series of short (6–9 minute) videos made specifically for children—starring children—to be broadcast directly into the classroom.
- Teachers don’t know enough about the Wild Resource Conservation Program and what we do as well as how we can help them educate their students about the natural world.
- A speaker’s bureau that would give schools and libraries access to WRCP researchers would be invaluable.
We will be scheduling more teacher workshops after the first of the year in Erie, Pittsburgh, Williamsport and Philadelphia. Send me an e-mail at email@example.com if you’d like us to notify you once one is scheduled in your area.
In the meantime, visit our website at www.dcnr.state.pa.us/wrcf/ if you’d like to fill out the questionnaire and give us your ideas about how we can most effectively help you teach your students about Pennsylvania’s native biodiversity.
Let’s not wait another 25 years
To help celebrate our 25th anniversary, we invited our past and current grantees, scientists and policy makers from the state’s natural resource agencies, students and environmental nonprofits to get together and reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the last quarter century. The energy, enthusiasm and ideas generated by this diverse group of people, who don’t often find themselves in the same place at the same time, were amazing.
Everyone who was there wondered why we hadn’t done this sooner and wanted to know when we’d to do it again. Well, we’re not going to wait another 25 years. While we don’t yet know how soon the next symposium will take place, we’ve decided to make it a regular event that occurs at least once every couple of years.
Thanks to everyone that participated, and we look forward to your involvement in the next symposium.