Hartford, VT – The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation recently awarded VCE a $4,882 Wellborn Ecology Fund grant to create a place-based teacher education program set to begin during the summer of 2022. This program will be designed for Upper Valley high school science teachers and will focus on creating lessons that enhance student learning experiences by introducing inquiry-based exercises that incorporate data collection and analysis. Throughout the week-long program, participants will receive a primer on the Upper Valley’s ecology, gain confidence incorporating field methods into their curriculum, explore open access data, and discuss both planning and conducting community science studies. Participants will also explore VCE’s research programs and learn how their classes can contribute to our existing community science initiatives.
“Place-based ecological education gives science teachers an opportunity to address the Next Generation Science Standards while leveraging their local assets,” explained VCE’s Director of Conservation Science, Ryan Rebozo, who will lead the program. For example, field exercises will address these standards by featuring hypothesis testing, core ecological principals, and crosscutting concepts, all while being adaptable to a wide variety of settings, making them suitable for data collection on all types of school campuses. VCE staff members anticipate that this program will increase investigation-based learning in Upper Valley science classes and incorporation of open access data in high school curricula, and foster greater student engagement in local community science programs.
Rebozo has experience leading teacher education programs for the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and Princeton University’s QUEST program and looks forward to helping launch this new initiative at VCE. “We think VCE is uniquely suited to offer this type of teacher education program”, Rebozo said. “With our in-house research programs, commitment to open access data, and engaging community science projects, we can offer Upper Valley educators a variety of useful resources that can be incorporated into their curricula”.
Thanks to the Wellborn Ecology Fund, this program will be made available at no cost to participants. Keep an eye out for updates as more details become available.