|The Nature of Learning|
Organizations interested in initiating or continuing refuge-based environmental education programs have until June 16 to apply for the Nature of Learning Grants for 2008, sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and National Wildlife Refuge Association. To apply, go to
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THE "NATURE OF LEARNING:"
Promoting Education and Stewardship in the Community
The "Nature of Learning" is a community-based National
Wildlife Refuge System conservation education program that uses national
wildlife refuges as outdoor classrooms and seeks
to promote a greater understanding of conservation issues while enhancing
student academic achievement. The "Nature of Learning":
- utilizes field experiences and student-led stewardship projects to connect classroom lessons to real world issues; and
- involves a partnership among local schools, community groups, natural resource professionals and local businesses.
The "Nature of Learning" framework (structure)
||The "Nature of Learning" is a new refuge
education initiative that evolved out of the smaller program previously
known as Earth Stewards. This new initiative is based on a framework
methodology (structure), not an activity-based curriculum.
The "Nature of Learning" Highlights:
Central to each "Nature of Learning" site is the involvement and partnership between a national wildlife refuge and a local school(s), community group(s), natural resource professional(s), and/or local business(es).
Learning: "The Nature of Learning" outlines a process by which
a community-based curriculum is developed utilizing formal and
non-formal education expertise at the site.
Using the standards-based curriculum from collaborating schools,
teams of teachers and resource specialists blend the resources
from the classroom with existing activities and programs used
on public lands. The framework guides educators in a standards-based
instructional process that encourages an interdisciplinary approach.
Projects: Community projects are planned and implemented as
a culminating activity of this initiative. After building an understanding
of conservation issues, students are encouraged to identify tasks
that put their awareness into action and enhance their community.
Professional Development: The "Nature of Learning" framework assists
site teams build local site workshops to meet professional development
needs. Partnerships with organizations who have similar missions
are highly recommended. In addition, the National Conservation
Training Center and The Keystone Center offer many courses that
can be directly applied to The "Nature of Learning".
- Project Site
Links: The "Nature of Learning" establishes a network
of educators and resource professionals from around the country
who are actively involved in using the Framework to enhance learning
in their community.
- Education on
Through a partnership with public land managers, local educators
have access to research data, wildlife samples, management issues,
staff and a beautiful setting to use while teaching.
The development of The "Nature of Learning" site is just the first step in
the learning continuum. Additional professional development is available
through the National
Conservation Training Center and The Keystone Center.
of Learners: The "Nature of Learning" is a partnership
initiative. The Learning Network provides a tool by which site
teams can identify community needs and are efficiently matched
with materials and activities that meet their needs.
How do I become
involved in the "Nature of Learning" ?
Public Lands: Identify a national
wildlife refuge in your area and
ask about the types of education programs they offer for schools.
Volunteers or Friends: Over 230 Friends groups associated with
our national wildlife refuges are in existence. Education on public
lands is the central focus of these nonprofit organizations. Contacting
these volunteers or other community
volunteer groups will help you build a "Nature of Learning"
For additional information, contact Deborah Moore at Deborah_Moore@fws.gov or 703-358-2386.