Welcoming a New Class of Early Childhood Environmental Educators
By: Rachel Patton
Presenting our newest certified early childhood environmental educators! On April 27, we trained 17 early childhood educators in 3 environmental education curriculum guides: Growing up WILD, Getting Little Feet Wet, and Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood. We spent the day outdoors, engaged in activities about trees, wildlife, habitats, water, and so much more! Our teachers were so excited to take their curriculum guides and knowledge back to their classrooms. Since the training, teachers have implemented many environmental education lessons into their weekly plans and collaborated with Bluegrass Greensource educators, as we visit their classes weekly to lead a lesson. Their students have used their senses to discover the world around them. They have discovered the importance of animal camouflage and the different habitats of various animals. They have learned about bobwhite quail and their unique habitat–some have even had the opportunity to incubate eggs and care for the chicks!
Our teachers visited the Salato Wildlife Center in June to finish their training and provide feedback on the program. While at Salato, the teachers learned about animal camouflage and freshwater habitats. We explored Salato, looking at the habitats and camouflage of many animal species located in our state. The teachers could not wait to tell their students about our adventure and have their students look for camouflaged animals in some of the photos they took. One teacher said the program has been “an awesome experience and opportunity” and that “the benefits of this class will make a lasting impact on [their] curriculum.”
We have since led several of our Junior Nature Explorers on trips to the Toyota Nature Trails and Salato Wildlife Center. The students are always looking for camouflaged animals, animal tracks, and making observations about the world around them. Research shows that people who are interested in the natural world and conservation recall a role model or experience that sparked that interest. The teachers of our Junior Nature Explorers are serving as important role models for our next generation of conservation stewards!
If you are interested in more information about Junior Nature Explorers, please email rachel@bgGreensource.org.