ARBORETUM NEWS (EARTH PARTNERSHIP FOR SCHOOLS)

RESTORE: West/Northwest Will Support Schoolyard Habitat Projects in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2009

Funded by the EPA Office of Environmental Education, RESTORE: West/Northwest will establish new partnerships to enhance the FWS Schoolyard Habitat program with teacher professional development and a K-12 interdisciplinary curriculum focusing on issues of biodiversity, ecological restoration, pollution prevention and ecological literacy. Key partners include: US Fish and Wildlife Service Regions 1 and 8 Schoolyard Habitat Program and regional EPS Centers in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Educational Priority: EPS is a K-12 teacher professional development program enhancing teaching and student learning through restoring native ecosystems on school grounds. This proposal addresses the priority of teaching skills by training formal and non-formal educators in the content and process of experiential, restoration-based education. Capacity building is addressed by enhancing the ability of the FWS, regional environmental educators and K-12 teachers to partner with each other toward schoolyard habitat restoration on an increasingly national scale. The initiative promotes community stewardship through involving teachers, students and community adults in restoring native habitat on school grounds and nearby natural areas, engendering an ethic of caring for children and nature, while producing a new generation of community land stewards.
Delivery Method: Specific projects will vary, with all having the following elements: 1) Environmental education or conservation organizations will be recruited as Earth Partnership Centers; 2) Teams from the centers consisting of non-formal educators, K-12 teachers and citizen volunteers/stewards will attend a two week RESTORE Institute at the UW-Madison Arboretum in 2010; 3)The teams will return to their home states prepared to offer EPS institutes to local and regional schools and communities; 4) FWS resource personnel will attend trainings in their states, collaborate in the regional institutes and the subsequent schoolyard habitat projects. FWS will help to recruit schools, regional partners and resources for the projects; 5) Citizen volunteers, retirees, parents and others will be trained as stewards for schoolyard restorations and nearby natural areas. Additional networking and training will occur through Winter Planning Meetings and follow-up by EPS center staff. An EPS Facilitator Training Manual, EPS Curriculum Guide, EPS Resource Binder, Rain Garden and Stormwater curricula will be provided in print and digital versions. All EPS activities are cross-referenced with state curriculum standards and include clearly defined curricular objectives and student learning assessment ideas adaptable to regional ecosystems. A new USFWS Schoolyard and Outdoor Classroom Manual will also be piloted.

Audience: The target audience for the RESTORE: West/Northwest initiative is non-formal educators, natural resource personnel, K-12 teachers, and citizen stewards. Four new EPS Centers will be established through this initiative and new FWS partnerships established with existing centers to serve new schools and communities. These EPS Centers will provide professional development for 40-60 teachers representing 10 K-12 schools in their states. This approach will lead to a conservative estimate of 200 teachers and 5,000 students experiencing Earth Partnership programming within one year of the “Train the Trainer” Leadership Institutes in 2009/2010. A national partnership with the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) will train additional teams of FWS personnel, formal and non-formal educators and citizen volunteers in 2010 and beyond.

Located between Lake Wingra and the West Beltline Highway at 1207 Seminole Highway, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum features the restored prairies, forests and wetlands of pre-settlement Wisconsin. This 1,260-acre arboretum also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection. Educational tours for groups and the general public, science and nature-based classes for all ages and abilities, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for groups, families and individuals are available.