The Michigan Alliance for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) in partnership with, Michigan Technological University and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo have received $10,000 in funding from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium to implement a year-long initiative for Detroit and Pontiac teachers titled Bringing Environmental Education to Urban Schools.
Teachers in large urban areas have many challenges when trying to engage their students in real world environmental education---not sure where to go, not sure what to teach students outdoors, lack supplies, require sub fees to allow their release time, lack funding for transportation. This project will introduce 24 teachers in Detroit and Pontiac to earth systems science through a year-long initiative to bring hands-on environmental education to Michigan’s urban schools. The project will incorporate best practices for teacher professional development.
The goal of the project is to engage elementary and middle school urban children in Detroit and Pontiac in hands-on science taught in context---outdoors---by enhancing the abilities of grades1-8 teachers to teach earth science system curricula in an outdoor environment. This project will provide sustained teacher professional development in environmental and science education through a series of three workshops during the 2009-10 school year taught by retired teachers, scientists and environmental educators. The first workshop that teachers attend will be the Michigan Alliance for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) annual fall conference planned for October 8-10, 2009 at the Environmental Interpretive Center at University of Michigan Dearborn, followed by a variety of workshops offered February-April during the school year. Participating teachers will receive one day of sub fees, opportunity to earn one graduate credit from Michigan Tech University at no additional cost, teaching supplies, and field trip stipends.
The project objectives are to:
- Recruit 24 Gr. 1-8 teachers in Detroit and Pontiac schools who will commit to participating in this one-year environmental education initiative to acquire and/or strengthen their environmental education and Earth system science knowledge and teaching skills in order to engage their students in learning in a real-world context---the natural environment!.
- Provide mentors for the 24 teachers for one year, drawing upon the expertise of MAEOE board members, Belle Isle Nature Zoo staff, and others.
- Provide at least three professional development workshops in environmental education during the 2009-10 school year.
- Create a community of learners by having these teachers work together throughout the year, to support each other’s efforts and troubleshoot each other’s needs.
- Provide financial support for participating teachers for professional development, college credit, environmental education teaching supplies, sub fees, and field trip stipends.
24 teachers in Detroit and Pontiac Public Schools will receive:
Free registration to attend three environmental education workshops
One Michigan Tech graduate credit (if all course requirements are met) for attending 2 workshops.
$50 of environmental education outdoor/classroom supplies
$100 stipend to take students on an outdoor field trip.
$100 for sub fees for time out of the classroom for professional development workshops or class field trips.
The following environmental education workshops are being offered:
- October 8-10, 2009 Michigan Alliance for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) annual fall conference at the Environmental Interpretive Center at University of Michigan Dearborn.
- Jan. 27 – Schoolyard Habitat & Grant Writing ~ 4-6 pm (Pontiac Middle School).
- Jan.28 – Grant Writing ~ 4-6 pm (Crockett High School in Detroit).
- Feb. 13 – Winter Workshop ~ 9:00-4:00pm (Belle Isle Nature Zoo in Detroit).
- Feb 20 – Project Learning Tree Early Elementary ~ 9:00-3:00pm (City of Auburn Hills Community Center).
- March 27 – Creating a School Yard Habitat ~ 9AM-3PM (O.W. Holmes Elementary School in Detroit).
- April 17 – Taking Kids Outdoors ~ 9am-3pm (Belle Isle Nature Zoo in Detroit).