Educational Partnerships

131 FW 5
FWM Number
Originating Office
Division of Facilities and Operations (NCTC)

5.1 Purpose. This chapter describes Service participation in both formal and informal education-oriented partnership activities.

5.2 Objectives. The objectives of educational partnerships are as follows:

A. To develop educational opportunities that increase teacher and student awareness, knowledge, and understanding of fish and wildlife resources and ecological processes.

B. To establish cooperative approaches to education that will build bridges between partners and result in well-coordinated and strongly backed efforts.

5.3 Service Involvement.

A. General. The Service fully supports and urges the development of special partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies; foreign nations; private corporations; conservation groups; educational institutions; and concerned individuals. This position enables the Service to join with others in educating the public about fish and wildlife resources. Partnerships help the Service to focus greater attention on resource issues. Individually the Service's reach is limited, but through partnership development educational messages can be delivered far and wide.

B. Formal. Within the Service, formal educational partnerships have been formed with schools and universities to involve students in fish and wildlife education. Initiatives such as the Watchable Wildlife Program contain an education component and involve partners who have joined together to promote public learning about wildlife and its needs. Other examples of educational partnerships include Suitcase for Survival, Project WILD, Scientist in the Schools, and the Junior Duck Stamp Program. In addition, partnerships have resulted in the development of products for educational use. Examples of these products include the Home for Pearl video and teacher's guide, the Habitat Issue Pacs, and the Water Resource Education Poster series.

C. Informal. Where appropriate, employees may go into the community, particularly to schools, to facilitate environmental education using non-Service lands and facilities. These activities are often conducted upon request, without a formal agreement. It is especially fitting for non-land-based Service offices such as law enforcement and ecological services offices to perform these functions. For the most part, field stations such as refuges and hatcheries provide Service lands, waters, and facilities for onsite environmental education activities. Staff at these facilities, however, may work offsite as necessary. Offsite opportunities are important to schools having limited resources for field trips. The Service fully supports offsite educational involvement, especially where opportunities for onsite environmental education are not available. However, even in these situations, emphasis should be on training teachers to work with students so that Service resources can be maximized.

5.4 Partnerships in Education Program.

A. Service Involvement. The Service establishes and/or participates in some specific programs involving partnerships in education programs. Participation may be on a volunteer basis or as part of an organized program within a regional office or at a field station. Partnerships in Education Programs provide opportunities for Service employees to work directly with teachers and to focus on involving students in fish and wildlife resource activities. Through partnership efforts such as Adopt-a-School programs and Scientist in the Schools, students become familiar with the Service and gain valuable insight into wildlife conservation and management.

B. Partnership Agreement. Partnerships in Education Programs are formalized under an official agreement which outlines the responsibilities of each partner. Service responsibilities may include the presentation of guest lectures and activities related to fish and wildlife topics; participation in school clubs, science fairs, career days, special school events, ceremonies, and contests; tutoring and mentoring; participation in training workshops; assistance with career planning; scheduling field trips to Service facilities; and providing student assistance in finding internships, job shadowing, and employment opportunities. In turn, the school may include the Service in special events and celebrations, reinforce Service presentations and activities to strengthen the partnership, and send students to Service facilities and other sites to participate in partnership activities.

C. Program Approaches.

(1) Successful partnerships should incorporate a variety of approaches in working with schools. These include classroom experiences, out-of-classroom experiences, one-to-one sessions, small group meetings, targeted or mixed group encounters, and assemblies.

(2) By using these multiple approaches, the possibility of reaching the greatest number of students is increased. Some students work and learn better in a one-to-one situation while others perform best in small groups or in outdoor classrooms. Service employees should remain flexible and alternate their presentation approaches to maintain student interest and to enhance student learning.

D. Implementing Considerations. The National Education and Training Center (NETC) provides overall coordination of Service environmental education activities. This includes the provision of assistance to Service offices involving partnership activities such as program approaches, environmental education topics, and partnership agreements. In addition, NETC should be contacted for information concerning other environmental education activities and/or materials.