Acadia Teacher Fellows Summer 2017

Acadia Teacher Fellows Summer 2017

So within the first five minutes it was pretty
obvious that we were going to be a very tightly connected group. We immediately got along and got to know each
other. I would say all of us are passionate about
children, about what we do and even though we are all different and from different areas
and teach different things and different ages we appreciate each other and we’ve been learning a lot
from each other, and I admire all of them It’s been very powerful for the last six
weeks to work on something that we are very passionate about. For the teachers that come to this program
to work together and develop programs that they can export to the classroom but more
importantly to bring the students to this classroom, in the forest in Acadia National
Park and just to learn about all the resources that are available, it’s just amazing how much
there is here. And I really believe that’s the real purpose
of it, is just to keep the steawardship growing. I think the purpose of the teacher fellowship
program is to number 1: expose teachers, to what our national parks have to offer, we’re
here in Acadia and so seeing what this place has to offer but in a broader sense we’re
learning about the whole park system and what that can offer to students as a resource. And then we get to take that back into our
classrooms and hopefully share the joy that we have experienced here with our students
back in our classrooms. And hopefully inspire them to be excited about
coming into the parks and excited about nature and taking care of not just national parks
but where ever they’re from. So we’re kinda the bridge between these
natural places and so many students and we do have the power as teachers to interact
with so many people that are going to be the future of those taking care of the earth.
So I think my children are going to notice a very excited teacher and they are going
to get a big kick out of the fact that I wore this shirt and I had this hat. Just that alone is going to be very exciting
for them. So going into this program I wasn’t really
sure how it was going to play out, however this has exceeded any expectation I had because
we got to do it all, we got to meet people, we got to meet the researchers, we got to
be in nature almost every single day while doing really neat things that we know can
help the park. A typical day is so much fun. We get together as a group in the morning,
go over what we are going to be doing for the day, and then head out on an adventure. It’s been amazing. We have been out in the field with research
scientists, or going on ranger programs, or just going out into the field and learning
ourselves, going and experiencing nature on a hike. So every day looks a little bit different
we have also been doing quite a bit of the curriculum development that is going to be
used by the park. So every day is pretty different actually. We got to work with the scientists. Being able to get some of those ideas on how
we can, not just work with the scientists being here in park, but what I can do in the
classroom to be able to either use their research or even help with their research. That was the most exciting part for me. I hope to be able to take just all of my experiences
and enrich what I do in my regular lessons. And then I hope to work with the researchers
by having some specific things that we are doing in Rhode Island to work with what’s
happening here. Ranger Kate Petrie was a great leader, amazing
how she orchestrated all of our experiences and I appreciated her not just telling us
what we were going to learn at a spot — she allowed it to happen organically. This program has been valuable in many, many
way but on point I’d like to highlight is how there are multiple point of entry just
like when you teach a child something, you have children of all different abilities that’s
the way this experience has been. With every single ranger that we have spoken
with it has been very accessible. I actually pushed out of my own comfort zone. I had never been walking in a bog or a pond
area, I had never collected insect larva. So just stretching my own comfort zone was
a great experience as an ATF. As an out of state teacher I found many more
connections than I thought that there would be. This whole six week program was reinvigorating,
I can’t wait to get back to the classroom. I feel reenergized and refreshed. If I were to tell other teachers about this
program I would tell them that number 1: it’s so fun, you have to do it. To be willing to open yourself up to experiencing
everything that this place has to offer, and be flexible. And like I said be willing to go out and do
research one day go on a ranger program the next day, do curriculum work the next. That flexibility is really important and if
just let yourself do that it’s the most amazing experience- it’s so much fun. I have found there is a treasure trove of
things on this island it’s unbelievable. I love my kids so much and when I see things
I think of a student. I go “wow!” I want to bring them here. I went to show ‘em this. So that’s the connection I have. But that’s the teacher heart that comes
out. That’s what I have experienced in this group. We love our kids so much that we want to absorb
as much as we can, so that we can share it with them and especially bring them here so
they can really see it, smell it, touch it, you know, and hear it. So that’s the power of Acadia. I’d like to thank Friends of Acadia for
funding this experience and for being so supportive They are phenomenal, what they do to fundraise
and also use their resources wisely. And I really believe the teacher fellowship
is a very vital part of that whole program. To go out and spread more information and
hopefully grow future stewards.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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