Laying the Foundation for Conservation: Engaging Youth in Stewardship

Thursday, October 23, 2014: 1:25 PM-2:55 PM
Polaris C (Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center)
There is a growing movement in K-12 education to engage students in “place-based” stewardship and conservation activities in order to create a foundation which will inspire them to develop the skills and to take on the challenges related to the implementation and management of large landscape conservation projects.  This type of place-based education has been shown to have a profound impact on student achievement and engagement, reaching the next generation of conservationists well before they enter the workforce as young professionals.

This session will highlight programs that reach all levels of K-12 students and teachers.    Panelists will detail the relationships of project partners, project goals, evaluation findings and lessons learned while using large geographic areas, such as river corridors and multi-jurisdictional heritage areas as "classrooms" for students. 

Some of the projects detailed include: utilizing a multi-jurisdictional National Heritage Area to connect students with local and regional history while providing instruction in new technology and critical thinking skills to encourage civic engagement;  providing an experiential learning expedition along the 340-mile length of the James River in order to gain a holistic understand of the challenge of protecting river corridors; providing teacher professional development opportunities and student programming that engages participants in 21st century investigations of watershed-wide concepts; partnering with multiple school systems to create stewards of a multi-state National Historic Trails in which students research, retell and interpret the historical events in their community and how the human impact on the landscape has shaped their community today.

Session Chair:
Abbi Wicklein-Bayne
1:45 PM
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