Posts Tagged ‘science education’

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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Watershed Detectives Club Is Off To A Great Start

Posted on: October 22nd, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
A scene from the inau­gur­al ses­sion of the 2020 Water­shed Detec­tives Pro­gram held at the Ashokan Cen­ter. Pho­to by Matt Helffrich

The ongo­ing COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has forced many events and activ­i­ties to be can­celled or switched to an online for­mat and for good rea­son. Tra­di­tion­al school­ing for many stu­dents in the water­shed has moved online ful­ly or in a hybrid of online and lim­it­ed in-per­son teach­ing. Most after­school activ­i­ties on school grounds have been can­celled indef­i­nite­ly. Sad­ly, because of this there is a dearth of oppor­tu­ni­ties for extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties around most sub­jects, though espe­cial­ly sci­ence edu­ca­tion. While the con­cern about the safe­ty of in-per­son edu­ca­tion is war­rant­ed, there are ways to hold in-per­son edu­ca­tion that reduces the risk of expo­sure to the virus. In an effort to pro­vide alter­na­tive pro­gram oppor­tu­ni­ties and to get stu­dents safe­ly engaged in a stream-based and water­shed cur­ricu­lum, AWSMP has relaunched our pop­u­lar Water­shed Detec­tives Pro­gram with added safe­ty features.

Water­shed Detec­tives has tra­di­tion­al­ly been an after­school pro­gram held at the Ben­nett Inter­me­di­ate School in Boiceville for grades 4–6. This year, instead of being held on school grounds the pro­gram is being offered at the Ashokan Cen­ter in near­by Olive­bridge, NY and for stu­dents in grades 4–8. Hold­ing the pro­gram at the Ashokan Cen­ter allows for good phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing between stu­dents and access to the Ashokan Center’s numer­ous trails, streams and forests for learn­ing and dis­cov­ery. Sev­er­al safe­ty pro­to­cols have been put in place along with strict san­i­ta­tion pro­ce­dures to reduce the pos­si­bil­i­ty of infec­tion. While the loca­tion has changed the same great pro­gram­ming is tak­ing place where stu­dents will learn about the impor­tance of streams, water­sheds, and ripar­i­an areas.

“It has def­i­nite­ly been a chal­lenge get­ting this year’s pro­gram up and run­ning, but we have a sol­id plan in place in an effort to keep things run­ning smooth­ly,” says Matt Savat­gy, AWSMP Youth Edu­ca­tor and leader of the Water­shed Detective’s Pro­gram. “The kids are real­ly enjoy­ing being togeth­er, out­doors with their friends and are active­ly engaged in learn­ing to become stew­ards for our watershed.”

Cur­rent­ly, the pro­gram is full. How­ev­er, AWSMP hopes to have more youth and adult pro­grams in the com­ing months. Please reg­u­lar­ly check our web­page for upcom­ing events and pro­grams offered both online and in-person.

The 2020 Water­shed Detec­tives Emblem
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