Lansing Kindergarten Teacher Teaches Conservation in the Classroom
In October of 2018, my friend decided to apply to the American Wilderness Leadership School in Wyoming and she encouraged me to apply with her. I had never heard of the program before, but thought, “why not?”. I filled out the application, wrote the essay to get a scholarship, and was accepted. Thanks to the generosity of the Lansing SCI chapter, I was able to go at minimal cost. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I had a great time and learned so much!
Promoting Conservation in the Classroom
The biggest takeaway I got from the week is how important it is to promote conservation. Before I went, I knew conservation was using resources wisely and not wasting them. But in my mind, conservation was for natural resources, like trees, water, gas, and coal. After I listened to the speakers, I learned that conservation is also about keeping animal populations stable and not allowing one species to get so high in numbers, it hurts other species.
I also learned that as a nature observer, I do not contribute money to conservation in any way. I thought that when I purchased my state park pass, some of that went to help with conservation. I did not know that all the money to pay for conservation came from the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. Even though I am not a hunter or angler, I am now going to purchase one of those licenses each year, so I too can contribute to conservation.
In Kindergarten, our last unit of the year is on plants and animals, so this will be the perfect place to add some lessons on conservation.
Teaching Archery in Schools
Besides learning about conservation, I also learned about a lot of other topics while at AWLS. Attending this program now means I am qualified to teach archery in the schools. I also learned how to be safe around firearms and I shot many different types of firearms (which I have never done before).
I also learned about stream ecology and fracking for natural gas and how it affects pronghorn. I am also certified to teach Project Wild, which has some great lessons I can incorporate into my kindergarten classroom. We also got to do some fun activities, like spend an evening in the town of Jackson and go whitewater rafting. We did so much throughout the week, it’s hard to list it all! If you are at all interested in learning about conservation and the outdoors, I highly recommend attending AWLS. It is a fantastic program and it is located in a beautiful area of the country! I cannot thank the Lansing SCI chapter enough for sponsoring me to attend this wonderful program!