AmeriCorps: Education Spotlight
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Robyn Bath-Rosenfeld, the new Environmental Educator and Outreach AmeriCorps at UW. My first three months in this position have just flown by and I am loving the chance to work with such amazing youth across multiple school districts in Douglas County. Since September I have had the chance to work with over 450 students across the county in environmental education programs and activities. At the Boys and Girls Club of Umpqua Valley, “Forest Thursdays” is our after-school environmental art program with Elementary School students (grades 2-5). The first quarter focused on pollinators (bats, butterflies, bees and hummingbirds). We are now studying other parts of the watershed from the sea to the soil! Last week’s activity included “Gyotaku,” which is traditional Japanese fish art print making. We’ve studied tree rings and macroinvertebrates in our soil!
Science Wednesdays, a 6-week afterschool program for 5th graders has already wrapped up at Fir Grove Elementary, Lookingglass Elementary and Fullerton Elementary! Students increase their knowledge as forest stewards as they learn about the Watersheds and elements in it. Starting with the water cycle, we move through food webs and food chains, dissect owl pellets, reading tree rings, and navigating to hidden treasure using a GPS.
My largest program is at Lincoln Middle School in Oakland. In partnership with the science teacher, Mr. Krissie, I work with 150 middle schoolers once a week on the school’s nature trail. Trail Tuesdays has become an exciting curriculum in which students are empowered to design experiments, collect data, analyze results, and make decisions on how they think the nature trail should be improved to help the environment and the watershed. As their understanding grows of what it means to be a watershed steward, so does their investment in the restoration project in the school’s backyard. I feel so lucky to have the chance to work with this remarkable group of young scientists once a week!
I’ve also begun a new partnership with the Joseph Lane Middle School 6th grade science classes. Our first lesson was a water cycle relay race and soon we will be completing a two week unit on human impacts on the environment.
All of these education programs have still left me with some time to think of new curriculum and we look forward to unveiling our new Environmental Detectives series to you in the Spring newsletter! I’ve also helped coordinate an amazing group of volunteers at this year’s Umpqua Brew Fest X!
On January 20 from 10am -1 pm, we will be once again partnering with the City of Roseburg, SOLVE Oregon and Blue Zones Project for a MLK Service Day Umpqua River Clean up at Gaddis Park in Roseburg. We hope you will come and join us for a clean-up and restoration day and give back to our community by cleaning up litter and removing blackberry bushes.