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  • Refuge Partnerships

  • Partnerships Methodology

    The Nature of Learning is a partnership initiative that is designed to include a wide range of individuals and organizations with varying areas of expertise. The following provides an example of what a leadership team for The Nature of Learning could look like.

    Coordinator: Traditionally, a formal educator or natural resource professional who is responsible for establishing a leadership team and facilitate meetings.

    A leadership team may include the following members of a community:
    • Resource specialist
    • Teacher
    • Friends or volunteers
    • Community business
    In addition, the team is encouraged to invite agency managers, representatives of other partner organizations, students, and parents. The primary role of the team is to create a vision, develop and implement a stewardship project, evaluate, and suggest revisions for future projects. For a list of suggested projects see the Stewardship Projects section of this Web site.


    The following is a guide to identify appropriate roles and responsibilities for various partners.

    Non-Formal Educators of the Federal Agency: Defined as any person working for a federal agency, i.e. a Fish and Wildlife Service employee who is conducts education programs at a local National Wildlife Refuge

    Recommended Role:
    • Identify current project and plans for expansion
    • Assist in coordination of partners and implementation of outdoor learning experiences to agency facilities such as National Wildlife Refuges
    • Identify unique characteristics of the refuge that students can explore in the classroom and at the site (not limited to science)
    • Conduct presentations, lab experiences, and activities on a range of fish and wildlife topics
    • Provide appropriate literature, maps, audiovisuals, and artifacts
    • Create a hands-on box that teachers can borrow to educate about the refuge
    • Identify opportunities for stewardship projects, career planning, and share fairs
    • Inform other individuals within the agency about the project so that work will continue on project (Project Manager, Field Office Coordinator, Biologist, Volunteer Coordinator)

    Formal Educators

    Recommended Role:
    • Organize an overall learning progression that will cover objectives dictated by National and State Standards
    • Plan activities and events with service employees
    • Develop and Implement natural resource education lessons for students with assistance from other partners
    • Accompany students to service facilities and other sites for project events and participation in partnership activities
    • Evaluate the needs, learning progression, and structure of formal education
    • Establish connections to community organizations and partners
    • Increase partnerships within the school including co-teachers, administrators, and educators in other grades
    • Train other leadership team members within school
    Community Connection: Defined as local businesses and volunteer organizations that have a vested interest in supporting the community and refuge connection.
    • Friends groups – non-profit organizations associated with specific refuges
    • Zoos and Aquariums
    • City Parks
    • Garden Clubs
    • Americorp Volunteers
    • Student Conservation Association (SCA)
    • 4-H Council
    • National Wildlife Federation
    Recommended Role:
    • Participate in planning meetings
    • Provide support in the form of goods, services, volunteer time and donations when possible
    • Identify other financial partners
    • Provide the group with information about community issues
    • Write grant proposals for additional support
    NOTE: For more information on grant writing, please refer to the Funding section of this Web site.

    Research Existing Relationships

    To initiate an stewardship project, it is important to first look at existing relationships that naturally occur within your community. It is easier to build on a current relationship than to start from the beginning. These relationships may vary from location to location depending on the type of school, community, and federal agency outreach projects that are found in your area.

    Many communities have a network of educators and/or community-oriented committees that have formed for various reasons. Ask teachers, parents, administrators, and refuge contacts about the organizations and projects in which they are currently involved.



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    Last updated: December 9, 2008
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