This project will send 30 children to a weekly 2-hour afterschool program at a Durham, NC middle school for the school year. These school children will be connected with nature through hands-on activities that will inspire them to help protect the environment, live within nature in a more sustainable way and to mentor other students to do the same. The students will also learn to give back to the community by completing a service project for the school at the end of the school year.
Young people are becoming disconnected from their natural world. This lack of nature is linked to some disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. The No Child Left Behind Act is contributing to a K-12 environmental literacy gap by reducing nature education taking place in schools. Its testing for core subjects is causing schools to eliminate nature education. This project brings nature to 30 students & is being replicated in 6 other schools.
We provide hands-on activities in a natural environment at the school to incorporate nature education into the existing school system. Children learn new skills while getting physical activity outdoors. Through team building activities they learn to trust & work with others, identify natural ecosystems as well as ecosystems in trouble, ways to restore nature through service projects and how to deepen their connection to nature. They also learn from wildlife ambassadors how to protect wildlife.
This project will educate 30 middle school students in an afterschool nature program at their school. Once this project is completed for the year, we will be replicating it at 5 middle schools in Durham, NC for the following school year with the goal of reaching all 12 middle schools by 2015-16. This project was begun in 2011 at an elementary school in Durham, NC and is being replicated at 6 elementary schools this year with a goal to connect nature to all 30 elementary schools by 2016-17.