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Education activities review: February 22 – 26

February 26, 2010

Preschool – 12th grade education programs

We continue to plan our spring Environmental Education season. At this time, we have 32 marine science programs booked for April and May 2010, most of which will be instructed by Carmen.

Staff trainings

This week Carmen and Jess attended First Aid and CPR training.

NOAA’s Coastal Services Center and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve’s Coastal Training Program offered Intro to Coastal GIS – a 3-day workshop at Islands & Ocean attended by 24 people. Several KBRR research staff participated in this training. Framed in a coastal management context, the course began with GIS fundamentals and introduced tools and techniques useful for addressing coastal issues – this course provided students with knowledge and skills to successfully use ArcGIS desktop software.

Special projects – Kids in nature

Carmen and Jess participated in a NERRS No Child Left Inside (NCLI) working group meeting this week. In addition to helping plan a NCLI session for the upcoming EC Sector Meeting in Mississippi, plans were made for Jess to share the Reserve’s Kids in Nature Parent/Caregiver Workshop Toolkit with fellow Education Coordinators during this March meeting/session.

The Connecting Children with Nature in Homer community coalition met this week for the 4th time and had a great discussion, facilitated by Carmen, about projects and events related to the No Child Left Inside movement. Our local coalition got mentioned specifically by Richard Louv on this week’s Talk of Alaska radio program – which you can download from their website. Carmen gave forum attendees an update on the numerous Kids In Nature-related activities for Homer families that had taken place since the group’s last meeting, as well as a summary of upcoming outdoor activities in the Kachemak Bay region.

New to Homer (and the world) for this spring are 1) Mud Games at a wallow somewhere in Homer on April 22nd to celebrate Earth Day’s 40th anniversary and Children & Nature Awareness Month (April) and 2) Iditanature with Homer Headstart students. Iditanature is an initiative Carmen has wanted to get off the ground for the past year – it will challenge local Headstart preschool students to spend 1 to 1.5 hours outdoors each day between March 6 and March 20, while the Iditarod Great Sled Race is underway. Kids will log their minutes spent outdoors in a booklet similar to summer reading program logbooks, which will then be approved and signed by teachers and parents. Those students who spend at least 1,150 minutes in nature (ie. the same number of minutes – or more – as the miles travelled by Iditarod mushers during the race) will win a fantastic prize – an opportunity to visit a local sled dog kennel and go mushing through the snow. Iditanature could be adopted by schools, parents, club organizers, and more to encourage outdoor play for Alaska’s youth!

The CCNH group also discussed community gardening opportunities, making skis available to low-income kids/families, and activities for Kids Outdoor Day (June 20, 2010) – Kids Ride Free to the State Parks with water taxis working with AK State Park Ranger Roger MacCampbell and a Homer-wide series of Family Hikes on 4 – 8 local trails.

Note: Your next education activity report will arrive on April 2nd.

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