AWSMP Provides Watershed-Based Remote Learning during Pandemic

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch
Water­shed Youth Edu­ca­tor Matt Savat­gy pro­vid­ing remote learn­ing sci­ence edu­ca­tion for ele­men­tary school stu­dents in the Onte­o­ra Cen­tral School Dis­trict. Pho­to by Bai­ley Savatgy.

Despite the ongo­ing pan­dem­ic, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) has found a way to pro­vide water­shed-based sci­ence edu­ca­tion to Onte­o­ra Cen­tral School Dis­trict ele­men­tary students.

Work­ing direct­ly with teach­ers, our youth edu­ca­tor, Matt Savat­gy, has been pro­vid­ing remote instruc­tion­al sup­port since last fall. Regard­less of whether they are at school or at home, stu­dents join Matt each week for a live Google Class­room sci­ence ses­sion. A wide range of water­shed-relat­ed top­ics are cov­ered through­out the school year. Accord­ing to Matt, “Much of the ele­men­tary school sci­ence cur­ricu­lum is direct­ly relat­able to the Ashokan Water­shed, par­tic­u­lar­ly in fourth grade.”

Savat­gy uses short video clips, lots of back-and-forth dis­cus­sions, demon­stra­tions, spec­i­mens from his exten­sive nat­ur­al his­to­ry col­lec­tion, and games to help stu­dents grasp required sci­en­tif­ic con­cepts.  Ben­nett Ele­men­tary School Teacher Eliz­a­beth Lef­ferts says, “My stu­dents eager­ly look for­ward to each of our sci­ence ses­sions with Mr. Savat­gy and the inter­ac­tive activ­i­ties they know are await­ing them.”

As a way to extend learn­ing beyond the remote class­room meet­ings stu­dents are pro­vid­ed with video links and activ­i­ty resources for them to try at home and they are encour­aged to use them while explor­ing their local out­door set­ting. Fourth Grade teacher, Liz Cor­sit­to, indi­cat­ed that, “This year has been dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate in terms of teach­ing and learn­ing vir­tu­al­ly. Matt has stepped in to encour­age our stu­dents to still love sci­ence even though it is being deliv­ered vir­tu­al­ly and to get involved in the sci­ence that sur­rounds them at home.”

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram also pro­vides numer­ous oppor­tu­ni­ties out­side of school for stu­dents to learn about the impor­tance of streams and our water­shed. A cou­ple of these activ­i­ties include: The Water­shed Detec­tives after­school pro­gram and the annu­al Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture. To learn more about these pro­grams and AWSMP, vis­it ashokanstreams.org.

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