The idea behind this name was to show that public lands are for everyone and provide many opportunities for learning, fitness, and recreation.
It connects youth with communities along the Appalachian Trail and public lands. 2 big name organizations that will provide support, both financially and through networking experiences. How to connect kids locally with nature and within their community TTEC pushed us as a trio, group who attended TTEC together, to join forces with one another, fellow MS staff, and the local community.
The AT is a place for recreation, nature, culture, spirit, and education where people can recognize challenges and dreams. For teaching all content areas; it’s a great opportunity for collaboration and subject integration.
Cohort all interested in finding and learning ways of incorporating the outdoors into our classrooms; trio who could easily work the TTEC principles throughout the entire middle school. Teachers included Shelby Brett (6th grade science), Aaron Ashman (8th grade math), and myself (7th grade science). Both Shelby and I were naturalists and environmental educators before teaching science, and Aaron enjoys hiking, camping, and outdoor experiences. With the idea of nature deficit disorder -- the fact that children are decreasing their use of nature and sense of discovery -- it was a priority of ours to bring that excitement of outdoors back into the students’ lives. Research states emphatically how important nature is to children: including our special education students (provides an outlet), higher achievement ratings, ownership for learning, sense of wonder, and commitment towards the environment. So, there was no doubt in our minds that nature would have a positive impact on our students, therefore, causing us to be on the forefront of placing the outdoors within our classrooms.
Power of one!!! Ask around within your community. Share your ideas, intents, hopes, and dreams, By just stepping out of my comfort zone and ASKing, people were sought out form local organizations, thus getting the ball rolling. Open lines of communication between cohort and partnerships created.
Through these partnerships, a local need was found, provided through grants that were written.The local need being the creation and maintenance of a new trail. The Nature Conservancy has rated the Sacony Creek Marsh as the second most significant natural site in Berks County. It is ranked as an S2S3 environment by the PA Natural Heritage Program meaning that its status is wavering between vulnerable and imperiled.
A grant was received from the Berks County Open Space and Recreation Board to develop Phase II in 2008. The borough of Kutztown’s wellheads are on the opposite side of the Sacony Marsh. The natural filtration of the marsh is important for their water supply.
This new trail just so happened to be conveniently located within 5 minutes of walking distance from our school. With this new trail being created along the Sacony Creek and Marsh, our partners NEED the community to be aware of the trail and how it can be utilized, in addition to having the students restore and maintain the habitat located along the trail. The overarching idea being to start locally and move onto bigger models like the Appalachian Trail, when funding enables us.
You must have backing and support from administration!!!! Talk with faculty members, in order to start program, keep lines of communication open. In 7th grade, with our MS flexible schedule, it was determined, in conversations, that we would run double periods 2x/month, enabling students to get down and back to the creek. The idea being that this would create ample time with an ongoing process throughout the year for direct investigation of the natural world. It happens/occurs the 2nd Thursday and Friday of every month. Obstacle being weather and clothing attire -- will the kids be prepared??? Having advance notice will enable preparation and time to be constantly reminded, hopefully alleviating this issue. MS in-service provided by cohort (3 TTEC workshoppers), art teacher, school nurse, Kutztown borough member and DCNR partner. In-service sessions included: content integration using the outdoors (adding math, l.a., reading, social studies), lessening fear and apprehension of taking students outdoors, hike along trail that identified native fauna and flora, medical emergencies and how to handle them, and sketching/journaling activities.
Physical components for water testing such as water and air temperature, water depth at 3 locations, speed of water flow, and general observations. Analysis will be included within graphing and statistics units and as a basis for solving equations. Measurements of things that can not be physically measured -- use of clinometer, trundle wheel, and trigonometry for measuring tree height, use of tape measure to gather circumference of tree, use of shadow in measuring tree height. Graphing and charts also completed as a way of data collection and analysis for different times throughout the year. All information was kept in a school-wide excel sheet.
6th -- sensory skills (use of senses outdoors), podcast and/or skits/role playing LNT guidelines, using PEAK packet provided through REI, garlic muster and multi floral rose removed with students, native plantings
Journals created in 6th-8th grade. Every grade composes their own creation that they are able to decorate, thus making it theirs, to develop ownership qualities and characteristics. Each guide is used differently, but all students are asked to reflect and sketch within their field guides. Simple sketching while outdoors; partnership with university students in mentoring experience Nature collages and recycled art sculptures.
Japanese culture including: kanji symbols and passports, kanji scrolls, kanji tea cups. All relating to nature, since in Japan many things revolve around the natural environment.
After creation of trail, students were asked to plant native species along creek edges and bank to shade the creek as well as creating a riparian buffer zone thus enhancing the outloook of the marsh and creek, in addition to making it more aesthetically pleasing. Chemical and biological water testing. Trail mapping and scavenger hunt creations. Nature journaling and sketching activities. Created signage to be hung along trail --- after finding out litter, cleaning up after dogs, tromping through the creek were issues, 1 of our partners (MWA) asked students to create and post signs that deter visitors from completing these actions, in addition to, describing the importance of a riparian buffer.
In October, after all the hard work KMS students have put into place beautifying the trail, the entire MS was invited to attend a dedication that included a small reception, with very important community members. Several hard working 7th graders were chosen to plant the pin oak tree, found front and center, with the mayor, borough members, and members of BCC, MWA, and FSM.
Begin unit with youtube video and clips,notes page on AT, reminders of LNT guidelines from last year, map activity -- pick 1 state along trail and collect information, then providing a quick presentation to the class on that state, color hiker picture and create personal trail name, preparation (backpack requirements, food and water, blazes with fake hike, equipment showcase, first aid and dangers, sanitation and hygiene, projects -- trading card of 1 AT flora/fauna, journal activity, and food planning for 3 days. Final celebration was to have a local parent come in and provide an assembly to the students from a thru-hiker on their experiences and thoughts. Still trying to get students to the AT -- having issues with funding for buses. Students will need transported in buses since the trail is approximately 20-30 minutes away.
It is incredibly important to reflect and continually evaluate where your program is, where you want it to be, and what things have and have not worked. The more the lines of communication are kept open, the better. Continual conversation is of utmost importance. Keep looking for others within the building who are willing to add dimension to your program. Inherent motivation and teamwork will allow the program to continually grow! Keep coming up with ideas, you must constantly be looking/wanting more! Ask students their thoughts, you’ll get true information that way. Sometimes good and bad, but at least it will be truthful! SAN Award -- Schukyll Action Network Award in 2009 for source water protection and leadership in watershed education
TTEC program, what we’re doing as a MS with outdoor education, how to create a program like ours, etc…VERY similar to the in-service that we provided to our MS teachers
Kathy Miller, retired teacher and cellist, spent 2 years photographing nature, especially the curious behavior of chipmunks in her garden. She then realized how wonderful her photographs were and decided to create a book out of it. With this in mind, I asked if she would be willing to present her story and information regarding photography in nature. The assembly was very well received and provided very helpful information for students to take pictures outdoors. Following the assembly, fitting nicely within my plant unit, the students will be choosing a plant located along the trail and identifying it. This will pull their dichotomous key techniques into play, in addition to taking photographs and sketching, while observing key factors (texture, leaf points, branch buds, etc.) of their plant. They will need to then research their plant in current field guides to create their own page that will be included within the 7th grade 2015 field guide book.
In collaboration with BCC and grants received from the DEP, trees were planted in 2 different areas located on borough farm property throughout the course of the year, primarily to decrease agricultural runoff, create a barrier for the water supply, decrease erosion and pollution potentials. The students were taught by Larry Llyod how to plant, why to plant, and basic logistics, and then were set lose in their outside groups to plant trees. In total 1,000 trees were planted. Keep in mind though, this was a partnership between the community members of Kutztown and KMS. All with the same thoughts in mind -- keep our water clean!!!! In addition to creating individuals who are stewards of their local environment!!!Great way to establish environmental awareness and the idea that what you do, as students, affects the rest of the world. Also, it created local ownership to the environment in which they live. Following the 2nd tree planting, every class was provided a tour of the water plant where they were able to see how the water system works, along with logistics regarding our water supply. Planting trees journalistic opportunities. Seedlings for schools -- program sponsored by the PA Game Commission where teachers are able to receive free silky dogwood and evergreen trees with lesson plans where students plant these seedlings at home, on school grounds or in their community and discover the vital role of trees in the environment. These were provided to us, free of charge, right around Earth Day and were an overwhelming success in the MS.
Plantings during our 2nd experience -- Larry Lloyd in corner demonstrating proper techniques.
AT Family Day was an idea put together based on not having funding, budget constraints, enabling us to get to the AT during school time. With that idea in mind, it came to me that I could have a day on the AT not during school time, however, it would have to be completely voluntary, for transportation reasons. I brought up my idea with the faculty at my school, and of course, my cohort was willing to chip in and help. Plus, there were other teachers who were interested in participating, but not helping. We decided, as a group, that this should occur on a Saturday morning, inviting all MS students, parents, and friends. The day would consist of hikes on the AT, but where and how? I then began getting in contact with local organizations, restaurants, outfitters, etc…looking for donations, volunteers, etc. Thankfully, the president of our local AT club was willing to jump in and help out in many facets. Marty from the BMECC actually met with me on a Saturday at the Hamburg Resevoir to show me the trails located there, and access the AT. It was a perfect connection -- it benefited both groups. From this conversation, our program flourished. The AT Family Day would consist of three different hikes, easy, moderate, and difficult, with hike leaders coming from the BMECC. The morning will start with a registration process in the parking lot where participants will be handed ribbons indicating they are with our group. Tables will be set up along the way to the meeting section for art, Cabela’s, BMECC, cases of water and snacks. In contacting the local organizations, I was provided 2 gift cards, 1 gift certificate, and promotional items. New partners added: Walmart, local Weis, Dietrich’s Meats, REI, and Cabela’s. Never be afraid to ask!! Ask and you shall receive! At 1st, I received lots of no’s, but the continual effort was worth it because I was able to receive many freebies and some new points of contact that are willing to step in and volunteer their efforts. Looking forward to this very well planned out day, lets hope the weather works, in addition to the potty situation.
TTEC ppt presentation
Kutztown Middle School Grow, Grow, Growing on Public Lands
Why TTEC? <ul><li>Place-based professional development workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by NPS and ATC </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a structure and framework </li></ul>
Why the Appalachian Trail? <ul><li>Civic engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Jumping point </li></ul>
Who participated and how did it all come together? <ul><li>3 teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Research backing environmental education </li></ul>Richard Louv
Find a Need Locally <ul><li>What is happening within your local environment? </li></ul><ul><li>Who to talk to? How to find a need? </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it local </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to ask!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships created: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MWA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BCC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kutztown borough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kutztown University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>F of SCM </li></ul></ul>
Kutztown’s Local Need <ul><li>Sacony Creek Trail -- Phase II </li></ul>
Before After Seeds planted by students that have blossomed Beginning Stages of Sacony Creek Trail
Sacony Creek Trail Conveniently located behind school
2008-2009 TTEC integration <ul><li>Administrative support </li></ul><ul><li>MS faculty support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>7th grade team </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MS in-service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteer help from partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workshop sessions </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>Japanese Art </li></ul>2008-2010 TTEC Integration in ART class
2008-2009 TTEC Integration in 7th grade Creation of riparian buffer zone, seeding meadow area, and trail maintenance Trail planting of natives including evergreen trees, violets, shrubs, and bushes.
Sacony Creek Trail Sacony Trail Dedication Bench overlooking creek Observation deck
2008-2009 TTEC Integration in 7th grade <ul><li>Appalachian Trail Unit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Importance of AT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>History & general facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LNT guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mapping activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hiker with trail name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preparing for an overnight/thru-hike </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AT thru-hiker assembly </li></ul></ul>
Evaluation of 2008-2009 TTEC program and goals <ul><li>Did we meet our TTEC goals set forth? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we continue to enable growth within our program? </li></ul><ul><li>What bigger and better things can we offer our students? </li></ul><ul><li>Open lines of communication </li></ul><ul><li>Student evaluations of program </li></ul><ul><li>SAN Award </li></ul>
2009-2010 TTEC Integration <ul><li>Similar components occurring in 6th and 8th grade curricula </li></ul><ul><li>KU workshop presentation to MS teachers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants included teachers from all over Berks County </li></ul></ul>
2009-2010 TTEC Integration in 7th grade <ul><li>Local author assembly </li></ul><ul><li>Nature photography for field guide </li></ul>Kiosk made by Eagle Scout, but filled with information by MS students
2009-2010 TTEC Integration in 7th grade <ul><li>2 Tree planting experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water plant tour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Press releases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seedlings for schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PA Game Commission </li></ul></ul>
AT Family Day <ul><li>Who? </li></ul><ul><li>What? </li></ul><ul><li>Logistics </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships </li></ul>
Advice <ul><li>Collaboration is key! </li></ul><ul><li>Administrative support is necessary! </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect and evaluate program! </li></ul><ul><li>Never be afraid to ask! </li></ul><ul><li>There is a “Power in One”! </li></ul><ul><li>Start small and continue to grow! </li></ul><ul><li>Dream big! </li></ul>
As you can tell, KMS is grow, grow, growing on public lands! Questions? Comments? Concerns? THANK YOU!