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By Jim Hawhee, APNEP staff
Resident scientist Dean Carpenter fields questions for "Ask an Ecologist"
For hundreds of thousands of students across our region, school is back in session. During their course of their academic careers, they will learn about the world through the study of many disciplines. Our goal that each of these students also finds some time to learn about our sounds and the 28,000 square mile watershed that supports them.
Unfortunately, we can’t visit every classroom. Yet with our partners we can provide educators with the resources and training to effectively teach about the unique natural resources of North Carolina and Virginia.
For those looking to dip their toes in the water, why not Ask an Ecologist about our region? Our program scientist will field many of your questions, but the best might be tackled by nationally renowned scientists in your area of inquiry. From agriculture to zoology, our staff routinely engages experts in a variety of disciplines, and we look forward to addressing your toughest questions.
Also, we have unveiled a new database of lesson plans and educational materials from APNEP and our partners. Each entry is aligned to education standards in North Carolina and Virginia, and the lessons can be searched by keyword, grade level or educational standard. Give it a try. We also welcome suggestions for improvement or additional resources you would like to share.
APNEP will also continue to support environmental education initiatives like Shad in the Classroom and our annual teacher institute in Salter Path. Teachers are also encouraged to apply for APNEP grants, which routinely fund outdoor classroom projects with water quality benefits. As resources permit, APNEP will also develop other quality resources for use in the classroom.
Our partners offer even more opportunities for estuarine and watershed education. Teachers can complement classroom instruction by scheduling a field trip at the N.C. Coastal Reserve, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, or one of many environmental education centers in the region. Many government agencies and nonprofit environmental groups have dedicated educators that can visit your classroom and offer standards-based instruction. Teachers can also build their skills through environmental education workshops, which can help them earn their certifications as North Carolina environmental educators.
The Erin Crowell Memorial Boardwalk at Currituck Banks National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Finally, we’d like to take a moment and thank our teachers for their dedication. Education is an increasingly demanding profession, but is also increasingly important as we transition into the information age. A growing population, climate pressures, and a host of other issues will face our next generation of environmental leaders. The work of today’s teachers ensures they will be ready for the challenge.