With the help of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR), the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) recently organized two teacher training workshops that introduced educators in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area to the Project WET Foundation and the organization’s award-winning water resource education materials for grades K-12. On Monday, April 6, Sandy Spring Friends School of Montgomery County, MD hosted the first of these all-day events, which served to familiarize their own staff, as well as other educators in the County, with engaging water-related educational activities that can be used both outdoors and in the classroom. WHC Education Specialist Rebecca Culler worked alongside Cindy Etgen and Martha Shaum of MD DNR to co-facilitate the training and challenged attendees to envision how the lessons contained in the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide may best be used with their own students.
Participants enjoyed learning through activities such as “Water Crossings,” where teams were asked to construct a vessel able to float an orange for a period of two minutes, using only natural materials they gathered from outside, with bits of yarn to bind the materials. This, and other lessons covered during the training, was effective in challenging both the creative and analytic centers of the brain while incorporating the use of teamwork and communication skills.
Attendees of the second workshop, hosted at Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center in Baltimore, were treated to a similar experience later the same week on Thursday, April 9th. Professional educators and teachers-at-heart each found the event particularly useful, with a few participants inquiring how they themselves may become “facilitators.”
While these workshops represent only a local offering of conservation education resources available across North America, they serve to strengthen links to one’s own community and to build capacity within your own habitat-based program. Hosting or joining an already planned workshop is usually as easy as contacting your state or province’s natural resource agency or university extension service.