By Dan Kirk
Onward we go into the 2020-2021 school year, and it will be like no other year before. The Education Team, and the rest of the world knows this, so let us tell you what you don’t already know: we have designed ultra flexible educational programming for teachers and also for parents who are homeschooling this year. We take into account new health and safety regulations, but as a team we have also been undoubtedly reflective and introspective, dissecting our collective dejection and finding ways to heal ourselves and our community through meaningful place-based land stewardship education. Generally, we have been thinking a lot about resiliency and have concluded that there are three broad types of resilience that are all interdependent and integrated into our K-12 programming: Personal resilience, community resilience and ecosystem resilience.
The cycle of resiliency only makes sense in the context of interdependence and relationship-building; with oneself, with the community and with the environment. At first thought, distant learning may make this slightly more difficult to put this into practice, but we have put a lot of work into making this seem very possible and gratifying for students through inventive strategies to get students engaged with nearby nature. We look forward to resuming classroom visits and field trips when safety allows, but in the meantime, we will provide opportunities for students to learn in their backyard, neighborhoods, local parks or schoolyards. Because one of our goals is to have students meaningfully engage with nature, we incorporate not only state Common Core Standards in Science, but also History/Social Studies and Language Arts. Some students may be invigorated by scientific inquiry, while other students may find connection through historical context of nature and place, or through personal reflection and art.
How we partner with teachers and parent/guardians will, for the most part, be on a case by case basis, with the structure of our programs being customizable based on the amount of time available, the content that is most important to cover, and the teaching format of the class. We hope to teach the programming directly with students, through video and we have also acclimated to Google Classroom. In the case that we receive more requests than our schedule and small staff can accommodate, or if the teacher prefers, we are happy to provide a curriculum for teachers to lead on their own. Please read more about our Watershed Education programming here. There are separate tabs for our different K-12 programming, with an outline of our curriculum for each program. We also have a Youtube channel with some educational videos from all of our departments. If you are interested in partnering with us this year, please fill out an interest form at the bottom of the Watershed Education page. For all other inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org