Nature Conservancy offers global curriculum, videos and virtual field trips
As parents become teachers and teachers learn new ways of instruction, during the COVID-19 sheltering in place orders, assistance from outside sources can be helpful.
In an effort to support those in this endeavor, The Nature Conservancy, which is a global environmental nonprofit that works to create a world where people and nature can thrive, has created a website that will educate and interest audiences of all ages.
This “Nature Lab” as it is being referred, has a downloadable curriculum, videos, and virtual field trips with amazing imagery that allows students from across the globe to enjoy adventures in science.
“This is a one-stop-shop. Parents don’t have to look any further, teachers don’t have to look any further. It’s all right here,” Mississippi director of The Nature Conservancy Alex Littlejohn said.
“This website is built for going as in-depth or as not in-depth as you want to go,” he said, with a curriculum dedicated for grades K through 12.
Compiled by the Conservancy’s 550 scientists from around the world, the website includes interactive lesson plans that are in keeping with school standards and they can be customized for each classroom.
As the father of a 7-year-old, Littlejohn said, his son has enjoyed the videos, which are the virtual side of the curriculum.
One topic in point that father and son have enjoyed is that of the “How Dirt Works to Sustainable Forestry.”
“This video took us outside looking for earthworms. It was really cool,” Littlejohn said, adding, “The materials and videos really bring each topic to life, with real-world examples that Mississippi students, parents and teachers can enjoy around the kitchen table.”
The idea to create a website for youth, Littlejohn said, stemmed from the coronavirus outbreak.
“With the staff being 50 percent parents, we all have students and have seen this struggle, so we asked ourselves, ‘How can we give out a resource to parents and teachers,’ and this how it (the virtual nature lab) all came about,” he said.
The videos used on the website already existed, he said, so it became just a matter of compiling information and making it a curriculum for kids.
In addition to the educational element of the Nature Lab, Littlejohn said, the website also supports the understanding of our natural resources.
“We know they are there, but sometimes we don’t know the uniqueness of them,” he said.
Littlejohn said he is hoping The Nature Conservancy will continue to keep the website up even after the sheltering in place orders have been lifted.
“I am so impressed with it. The Nature Lab gives teachers, students, and families everything they need to start exploring and understanding nature around the globe alongside Conservancy scientists,” Littlejohn said, and while the website was created to help students learn the science behind how nature works for us, it will also help them understand how to keep it running strong.
To enjoy the Nature Lab, visit www.nature.org/mississippi, and for those who do not have access to a computer, on a mobile device they can link up via social media.
“All the links are there. They will have to find the Nature Lab post and then it will take you to the link,” Littlejohn said.
All the material for viewing is free.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has announced lane closings from the Interstate 20 bridge to Mound, La. from... read more