Thursday, October 24, 2019

New Initiative Strengthens Environmental Education In 3 Lancaster County Schools

On October 24, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA unveiled a new program designed for educational and conservation partners to connect students and teachers in Lancaster County to fun and meaningful learning opportunities outdoors.
Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) support high quality teaching and learning by actively engaging students in building knowledge and meaning through hands-on experiences. 
These multi‐stage activities have a goal of increasing understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ecosystems.
The new Outdoor Learning Network Initiative (OLNI) is a partnership of the Conestoga Valley,  Ephrata Area, and Columbia Borough school districts, Millersville University, Lancaster County Conservation District, and Stroud Water Research Center
OLNI partners met at Conestoga Valley High School recently to review goals, expectations, and roles of each participating group.
“Building strong networks and partnerships for our school systems to work with will ensure that environmental literacy programs are sustained in Pennsylvania schools,” said Tarrea Potter, CBF’s Education Outreach Educator in Pennsylvania. “This framework provides our learners and leaders of tomorrow with a positive example of collaboration and what it looks like to work together for a common goal.” 
“In education, we are asked to teach collaboration,” said Dan Daneker, K-12 subject supervisor for Science and Technology at the Conestoga Valley School District. “What better example of collaboration than this grant? This was a team effort and a great start to a collaboration that will benefit the students of south central PA.”
The current OLNI will continue through Spring of 2021. It is being funded and organized by the Pisces Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network. 
“The program will benefit our students and the health of our local watershed,” said Dr. Nanette Dietrich, Educational Foundations professor at Millersville University. “The University’s Watershed Education Training Institute is excited to continue our partnership with the Conestoga Valley School District and the Stroud Water Research Center with a shared mission of protecting our local watershed through education and civic action.”
“The end goal of the program is to be able to apply this framework for partnerships in other places to improve environmental education and literacy in Pennsylvania,” Tarrea Potter added. “Studies have shown that environmental education improves academic performance, increases civic engagement, and instills a belief that individuals can make a difference.” 
Visit CBF’s Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences webpage to learn more about this program.
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.
(Photo: CBF’s new Outdoor Learning Network Initiative will connect students and teachers in Lancaster County to meaningful learning opportunities outdoors.)
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[Posted: October 24, 2019]

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