This past summer, BLM Alaska sponsored two “Teachers on the Public Lands” – one based at the Copper River Watershed Project in Cordova and one based at the BLM Campbell Tract/Campbell Creek Science Center in Anchorage. The teachers learned about BLM’s resources and developed lesson plans for BLM’s education programs and for school use.
The “BLM Teacher on Public Lands” placed with the Copper River Watershed Project was Fran Daly (who teaches at Salcha Elementary School in Fairbanks). Fran helped the BLM and partners capture, develop, and improve a high school curriculum that brings students on a 10-day exploratory journey to understand the Copper River Watershed. Fran helped lead the students through bat inventories, hydrology experiments, vegetation transects, stream surveys, and a variety of outdoor skill and team-building exercises. Fran brings her great experiences back to her classroom, and her curriculum work will help Alaska high school students learn about BLM’s land and resource management.
Rebecca King (an eighth grade science teacher from Begich Middle School in Anchorage) completed a climate change curriculum for the Campbell Creek Science Center targeted towards fifth and sixth grade students. The curriculum teaches through science-based activities similar to what climate scientists do when observing and recording scientific data. The program also helps build an understanding of natural processes that govern life on Earth and its atmosphere. The program leads students to answers for two key questions: Why is it important to learn about climate change? and, What should everyone know about climate change? The curriculum had been started the previous summer by fifth grade teacher Rena Michaud from Ravenwood Elementary in Eagle River. The Campbell Creek Science Center plans to continue working with teachers King and Michaud on future projects – and, they can’t wait to get kids signed up for the brand new climate change program!
Read more about this program in BLM Alaska’s latest Frontiers Newsletter.
(BLM staff Luise Woeflein and Marnie Graham contributed to this article)