NC Project OWL at EENC Conference 2019

Last month brought some great news for the NC Project OWL team. Our presentation was selected as one of the sessions at the annual conference for the Environmental Educators of North Carolina. This year’s conference will be in Gastonia, NC at The Shiele Museum, September 19-21, 2019.

EENC 2019 Conference

EENC 2019 Conference

The Project OWL session will be one of the many amazing learning opportunities at this conference. We plan to share a little bit about the history of the program and the adjustments that have been made through its growth. A large focus of the session will be sharing the revised mission and goals of the program, as well as how educators across the state can learn more about becoming Project OWL facilitators. During the summer of 2020 we will be providing a 2-day facilitator training, with an aim to have at least one representative from each of the eight DPI regions in our state. If you any questions about the program and how you can learn more, please email Michelle Pearce at mpearce@ncarboretum.org.

Project OWL is flying your way!

In October of last year, Project OWL was added to the list of approved workshops for Criteria 1 credit in the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program! This means that we are able to serve classroom teachers AND non-formal educators by providing professional development opportunities that are aligned with NC Essential Standards for Elementary Education.

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Project OWL has also been continuing to seek college students in Elementary Education programs withing the UNC System. To date we have worked with students at Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and have Spring 2019 workshops planned for UNC-Asheville students and East Carolina University students. These workshops are also open to non-formal educators in these regions and will take place at The NC Arboretum, Cape Fear Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville, and A Time For Science in Greenville, NC.

Science Methods students at WCU preparing to play Park Ranger.  Photo courtesy of Rich Preyer, TNCA

Science Methods students at WCU preparing to play Park Ranger.

Photo courtesy of Rich Preyer, TNCA

And to celebrate one more great accomplishment, Project OWL was able to co-present at the NSTA Regional Conference in Charlotte, NC in November alongside Project EXPLORE, another NC Arboretum initiative. It was a great experience to be on the national level and to meet teachers from around the country who are looking for more ways to incorporate their natural world into their classroom world.

This spring Project OWL is looking forward to working with a committee of teachers from around Western North Carolina to edit the activities and to write new ones. We plan to feature activities that incorporate physical sciences and EE, as well as improve the cross-curricular activities to better align with the NC Pacing Guides. Stay tuned for updates as we add new opportunities for Outdoor Wonders and Learning!

MP

2018-19 Brings a Fresh Start for Project OWL

After a successful pilot year, with many learning opportunities, the Project OWL team decided to re-calibrate the program based on participant feedback. While the curriculum is still a living document, and the suggestions and adaptations made by the 2017-18 teacher cohort have been added to this year's version, the access to the workshop training has changed greatly - and we are very excited!

This year, Project OWL is going to pre-service Elementary Education teachers in the UNC System. There are two workshops scheduled so far this fall, one with Western Carolina University students, and one with Appalachian State University students. There is a second workshop scheduled for ASU's Recreation Management students to help give them a background in providing Environmental Education programs for North Carolina teachers. 

Introducing Project OWL to MECME classroom teachers.  Photo courtesy of Sean Russell, MECME

Introducing Project OWL to MECME classroom teachers.

Photo courtesy of Sean Russell, MECME

On August 17 Project OWL also had the pleasure of working with the classroom teachers of Millbrook Environmental Connections Magnet Elementary (MECME) in Raleigh, NC. The school's 25 classroom teachers participated in the curriculum workshop, experiencing the activities, learning about the schoolyard, and using their own lesson plans to practice using an inquiry-based format and inserting a Project OWL activity that best fits the unit. 

 

Teachers learning about the impact of squirrels in their schoolyard.  Photo courtesy of Sean Russell, MECME

Teachers learning about the impact of squirrels in their schoolyard.

Photo courtesy of Sean Russell, MECME

This workshop was very engaging, authentic and informative. I was really excited to learn all the ways I can incorporate the 5E’s in my lessons and just an overall understanding that I can get my students excited about the environment.
— Kishma Harriott, MECME teacher
MECME teachers engage in the "What Am I?" classification activity.  Photo courtesy of Sean Russell, MECME

MECME teachers engage in the "What Am I?" classification activity.

Photo courtesy of Sean Russell, MECME

This fresh start and new approach to Project OWL has been well received and we are excited to offer workshops to both formal and non-formal educators this year. Stay tuned for more updates!

MP

Great Resource for Science Literacy!

Attention Project OWL Teachers!

I recently learned about these training modules provided by the American Museum of Natural History. They help incorporate literacy strategies into science instruction in order to better assess student comprehension.

http://www.amnh.org/explore/curriculum-collections/integrating-literacy-strategies-into-science-instruction

Welcome to Project OWL!

We are excited to kick off Project OWL with seven schools in western North Carolina!

Champion Teachers, please fill out the Pre Survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NK9LG2P