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  • 19 Dec 2019 12:15 PM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Bees 101

    Jan. 18, 10 AM to noon, Possum Creek MetroPark. Pollinators are critical to community gardens. In this class, learn from an expert beekeeper how to start a backyard (or community garden) beehive. This program often fills up fast, so register soon.

  • 21 Nov 2019 10:49 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Ongoing Five Rivers MetroParks Opportunities

    Green Schoolyards Program

    The Five Rivers MetroParks Green Schoolyards Program assists schools in developing habitat and/or vegetable gardens, which can be great ecological teaching tools that encourage connection with nature. It also supports two seedling schools each year, with additional resources to get a green schoolyard established and thriving! If your school would be interested in an initial site visit to discuss the Green Schoolyards Program, or interested in becoming one of our seedling schools for the 2019-2020 school year, please call or email Hallie Hayden. More information can be found on our website.

    School Field Trips

    Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your 2019-2020 school year field trip to Five Rivers MetroParks! I will begin scheduling in June, so get your ideas ready! Call at least three to four weeks in advance for school field trips in the parks. Think of our parks as 16,000 acres of green schoolyard for you to use with your students. While we have guided field trip options, you're always welcome to lead students on your own adventures and we can help reserve spaces for you. Call 937-275-5059. Check out our guided programs.

    Teacher Field School

    Are you interested in taking students to a park but a little unsure about what to do or where to go? You may know the standards you'd like to teach, and don't need a guided experience, but still could use help planning your self-guided trip. This usually takes 90 minutes to two hours, usually after school, and helps build confidence, expand ideas and sort out logistics for your self-guided field trip. At Cox Arboretum MetroPark, grant funds help provide supplies and a backpack for teachers. Call 937-275-5059 to schedule a Teacher Field School for you and your fellow teachers.

    Educator Facebook Page

    Five Rivers MetroParks has created a community on Facebook to help share upcoming opportunities, helpful articles, classroom resources and as a way to communicate with fellow educators in the area. Visit Facebook for more information and to join.

    To join, you will be asked two questions:

    1. Where do you teach?
    2. What grade level do you teach?

    These questions are a way for us to verify that those looking to become members are teachers in the area. Feel free to start discussions in the group, ask questions, share ideas, and we will be sure to share resources we find as well.

  • 21 Nov 2019 10:48 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Free Education Resources

    eBird Explorer's Curriculum Series: Download your free eBird lessons to get a taste of the birding world! The stand alone, comprehensive downloads allows educators an opportunity to explore the new K-12 curriculum suite, eBird Explorers. Each grade-band offers youth the opportunity to make careful observations, collect and explore data and patterns, and build STEM practices, all while addressing standards align science content. Entire kits with lessons and supplies will be available through our partners at NASCO soon! Find the free downloadable lessons on their website.

    Explorer's Curriculum Webinar: Discover how you can engage your 6-12 grade students in the eBird citizen-science project with our latest eBird Explorers curriculum. Lessons explore the complexity of biodiversity and human impacts on the environment, and how citizen science can help us understand our world. Sign up for either the Nov. 19 at 6 PM or Nov. 21  at 8 PM.

    Climate Change in My Backyard Curriculum: With support from NASA, and in collaboration with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and schools and teachers throughout Illinois, the Chicago Botanic Garden has developed the Climate Change in My Backyard curriculum series. The project targets grades 5 to 12. Students explore climate change in the context of an investigation of how climate affects their local plants and ecosystems. They collect data to contribute to Budburst, and analyze the data they collect in the context of NASA and NOAA climate and atmospheric data, as well as NASA satellite imagery. They learn about the effects of changing climates on ecosystems through participation in Budburst, and then broaden that perspective by exploring the effects of climate change on human communities around the world. You can find the overview and the three different curriculum sets on their website.

  • 21 Nov 2019 10:47 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Citizen Science Highlight

    Citizen science is a way for everyone to contribute in a meaningful way to "professional scientists." It's a great way for students to realize they can make a difference and contribute to the scientific community!

    Nature's Notebook: Nature's Notebook is a national phenology program in which professional and volunteer scientists record long-term observations of plant and animal life stages. Observing phenology through Nature's Notebook offers place-based, hands-on learning opportunities provides a collaborative platform for site-based educators, promotes cross-subject engagement while addressing standards of learning, and can be used to identify and answer local scientific research questions addressed by many natural resources, volunteer, and gardening groups. Plus there are already plenty of resources to help educators incorporate activities at all grade levels on their website. Get your classroom involved by checking out their website

  • 21 Nov 2019 10:47 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Upcoming National Programs

    Cornell Lab of Ornithology Summer Educator Retreat
    July 7-9, 2020 or August 4-7, 2020

    Join us for our Summer Educators Retreat 2020. Pick one of two dates and get ready four fun days of hands-on training in using citizen science and inquiry. During the retreat, educators will:

    • Learn eBird protocols, complete a citizen-science study along the Sapsucker Woods trails, and enjoy guest presentations on environmental conservation.
    • Discover the Cornell Lab's online field guide, digital library, and citizen-science programs as educational resources for K-12 learning.
    •  Receive K-12 Education's popular Investigating Evidence unit, your choice of one of four brand new eBird kits, and two free window feeders.
    • Earn 3 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) from Cornell University.
    • Enjoy the natural beauty of Sapsucker Woods and the Finger Lakes with like-minded K-12 educators and so much more!

    Space is limited. Register today to guarantee your spot. Scholarship applications to attend the retreat are now open. The deadline to apply is February 3, 2020.

  • 21 Nov 2019 10:46 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Five Rivers MetroParks Event for Classroom Teachers

    OUTstanding Teacher Award: We are currently accepting nominations for the OUTstanding Teacher Award! This award recognizes educators K-12 who are weaving nature into the curriculum, getting kids outdoors, and we know you would be an excellent candidate. A significant prize package accompanies the recognition, and you can self-nominate. Nominations are due by Jan. 31, but why wait - nominate now. Learn more.

  • 25 Sep 2019 11:20 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Recycling in the Classroom: This year the No Waste Lunch at Cox Arboretum has become very popular, and you can recycle even more through a great organization called Terracycle. Think about all the juice pouches your students go through in a week, or chip bags, or granola bar wrappers... you can recycle those, even if it isn't through your regular waste stream. Check out all their brigades on their website.

  • 25 Sep 2019 11:19 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Symbolic Monarch Migration: This fall join 60,000 students across the globe to create symbolic monarch butterflies and send them to Mexico. Children who live beside the monarchs' winter sanctuaries in Mexico protect the paper butterflies and return them in the spring. Through the Symbolic Migration, children are united by the monarch butterfly and celebrate its spectacular migration. They learn authentic lessons of conservation and international cooperation. The symbolic butterflies' fall flight is timed to correspond with the real monarchs' journey south. As the eastern population of North American monarchs are arriving in Mexico for the winter, students from the sanctuary region receive their symbolic butterflies. Sometime in March when the real monarchs' departure from Mexico is announced, the paper butterflies return north carrying special messages from the students in Mexico. Learn more on their website.

  • 25 Sep 2019 11:19 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Citizen science is a way for everyone to contribute in a meaningful way to "professional scientists." It's a great way for students to realize they can make a difference and contribute to the scientific community!

    Backyard Bark Beetles: Backyard Bark Beetles is a citizen science initiative aimed at producing and maintaining a large-scale, long-term bark beetle monitoring program. Our trapping activity is easy, fun, effective, and utilizes items found in the everyday household (2L bottle, hand sanitizer, etc.).
    This activity is especially useful as a hands-on activity to complement in-school lessons focused on topics like native/invasive species, forest health, environmental stewardship, etc. and has been used in courses spanning multiple disciplines (e.g., environmental science, entomology, ecology, etc.). Students will create a bark beetle trap, collect beetles for 3 days, and mail the beetles to scientists. Your beetleswill be identified and promptly added to the interactive map, which can be found at bottom of the project's homepage ( Get your classroom involved by checking out their website.

  • 25 Sep 2019 11:18 AM | Ann Drake (Administrator)

    Outdoor Classroom Day: Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On Nov. 7, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritize playtime. In 2018, over 3.5 million children in over 100 countries took part.  If you're new to outdoor learning, why not use Outdoor Classroom Day to try it out? If you already get outdoors regularly, use the day to celebrate what you're doing and inspire other teachers around the world to join in. There is plenty of time to get organized now, so get your fellow teachers together and brainstorm how you'll send Outdoor Classroom Day! Check it out and add your school to the map.

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