Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

Training Round 2

outdoor classroom

outdoor classroom

The biggest event this week was another teacher training conference, this time at the¬†Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education–conveniently located in Philadelphia. The other interns and myself attended the conference, and it was their first time at the Center. I’ve been there a lot over the years, because I participated in the Philadelphia Envirothon, a high school competition about environmental science. It was pretty awesome to see the Center again, especially with all of the changes they have made. The visitor center has been expanded, with a new exhibit all about rainfall. There is also a new sculpture of slides, which capture rainfall and allow it to filter into a rain garden located just below it. This training event focused on how to bring environmental science into the classroom. We went over lesson plans that could be used, such as creating nature journals and conducting observations. Our favorite part of the conference was the outdoor classroom that the Schuylkill Center has. The classroom is a section of the forest enclosed in deer fencing, which delineates the classroom’s boundaries, but allows visitors to still see the overall forest. There is an actual door set into the deer fencing, with a doormat and everything, so that when you step into the classroom, it feels as though you really are going into someone’s home. The goal of the classroom is to impress upon visitors that the forest is a safe place, an open place, and it deserves to be respected just like your own home.

a cool water snake we saw on a walk

a cool water snake we saw on a walk

 

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Estuaries Education

This week, the interns of the refuge (me, Jenelle, and Frankie) were able to attend an Estuaries Education conference. The 3 day event is a professional development opportunity for teachers to learn more about the environment and the key roles estuaries play, focusing on the Delaware Estuary. We used the conference as a resource to learn new ways we can run our summer camps at the refuge. Day 1 was spent in Salem, New Jersey, at PSEG’s Energy and Environmental Resource Center. We had several lectures about various kinds of energy, such as nuclear, wind, and coal. We also had a lecture about the estuary and its structure, and we had a special lecture about oysters, in which we were able to open them up and examine the insides. Days 2 and 3 were spent in Delaware, learning about anything and everything relating to estuaries. We learned about horseshoe crabs, wind energy, invasive species, estuary enhancement, and oil spill clean up. It of course decided to rain our entire trip, but we still managed to do all of our activities. We went on a tour of an emergency oil spill clean up boat, where we talked firsthand to the operators of the ship. We also went onto the beach–in an absolute downpour–with two University of Delaware grad students, who showed us how to seine the water, and identify what we found. As we walked along the beach, I saw my very first horseshoe crab! It was a male, flipped over in the surf. We were able to examine him, then set him free in the water. We caught a bunch of stuff in the net, as well. There were at least 10 blue crabs, one of which was wrapped up in fishing line. Someone had a pair of scissors, so we were able to cut it loose. There was also a bunch of mummichogs (a little fish), and a big flounder. It was crazy; the net was only walked out about 10 feet from the shore–if that–yet we were able to see so much.

nuclear display

nuclear display

oysters

oysters

fiddler crab!

fiddler crab!

a horseshoe crab shell on the beach

a horseshoe crab shell on the beach

more oysters!

more oysters!

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pseg visitor center

pseg visitor center

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