This week I received a package in my mailbox with my name written in brightly-colored marker; it was one of the many "Thank You" packets we receive from schools who have attended IslandWood in the weeks prior.
Every week the IslandWood garden is filled with students from visiting schools. And one of our favorite programs to teach is an experience called Soil to Snack.
“It was a thin grey rain: hard and fast and cold ... as was my custom in such elements, I hunched against the rain, drew my head into my collar, turned my eyes to the street, tensed my footsteps and proceeded in misery. But my hosts, I soon realized, reacted in quite another way.
Every week at IslandWood, students come jumping off of their school buses and into our care for the School Overnight Program. They are nervous, excited, and are anticipating a lot of new things. For students coming from the urban areas of Seattle and beyond, the woods can be a new and uncertain place.
The month of August is a rare time in our calendar year when our garden is not filled with children.
Teaching and gardening go hand in hand in so many ways. But the biggest connection may be that both endeavors naturally provide for the opportunity to ‘try again’. If a lesson doesn’t go as planned, it can be assessed, re-done and offered differently.
I've been approached by outdoor enthusiasts for decades asking how the heck can I promote the use of technology in outdoor learning? After all, isn't a main reason to go outside to get away from technology? Sometimes I respond by asking how the questioner gets to their outdoor learning destination.
What makes a community successful? This is a question that our graduate student instructors consider every week as they begin working with their field groups. In fact, it’s one of the first questions they pose to their students.
The melange of children who come to visit us at Islandwood is comparable to the diversity of species in our own forests. The Pacific Temperate Rainforests are among the richest and most diverse temperate forests on the earth.
I remember years ago as a 3rd grade teacher, I was so concerned about classroom safety that I spent my first months teaching students how to sit quietly at their desks. I was so nervous about losing control of the class, that I deprived them of real learning.
How are students connecting to nature while at IslandWood? Are we reaching the students with the few days they spend in the woods? They take part in solo walks, investigations, night hikes, and more.
I am delighted to share some fantastic news. IslandWood was recently selected as a recipient of the 2013-2014 Science Champions Science Education Awards presented by Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER), a program co-led by Pacific Science Center, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Think about chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. What immediately filled your senses when you read the previous statement? I thought of warm cookies full of delicious gooey chocolate chips flavoring the house with the scent of sweet brown sugar. Now, imagine you’re at a crowded party with dozens of people talking around you. The noise is loud enough to require a raised voice when speaking to the person next to you. Would you be able to hear the voice of a close relative or spouse from across the room? Our senses are powerful tools used daily as we journey through life.