By: Chris Porter Bluegrass Greensource Development Director
At Bluegrass Greensource, we try to make all of our K-12 educational activities as tactile as possible. Fully engaging all of a student’s senses helps them grasp ideas and retain information, all while deepening their understanding of a given lesson.
Animal pelts and skulls are, by far, the most popular hands-on materials that we bring to the classroom and make available to teachers. These pelts and skulls supplement lessons on local wildlife and are used to help children understand animal biology, habitat and how it is affected by various factors, and animal adaptation to weather, climate, and changing seasons.
“Having hands-on materials like pelts and skulls is so important for enhancing student learning,” says Pattie Stivender, Bluegrass Greensource’s Education Director. “A teacher can describe the differences between the teeth of a carnivore and an herbivore. She can have students read a book or complete a worksheet. But when a student is able to touch and experience the different animal teeth first hand, you can see the moment on their face when they connect the dots and the concept comes to life. Nothing compares to that moment.”
The pelts and skulls that we have been using are 10-years old, and because of their popularity and near constant use, they had begun to fall apart. As part of our spring fundraising drive, we reached out to our friends and supporters to raise money to replace this resource. In addition, we applied for and received a grant from the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Thanks to the generosity of the Colonels and our supporters, we are excited to share that we have been able to replace all of our pelts and skulls.
These materials not only bolster our own efforts to provide high-quality environmental education, they also support individual teachers throughout Central Kentucky who access them through our Community Resource Library. “For an individual teacher, the cost of these materials can be a barrier, particularly for something that you won’t use every day,” says Pattie. “So having access to them through our library is such an important resource for the teachers we work with.”
Thank you to our wonderful supporters and to the many good people at the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels! Their generosity and investments ensure our ability to continue providing the first-rate environmental education that we need throughout Central Kentucky.