The Friends of the Hidden River News

FOTHR Staff invited to Washington DC

Award Winning FOTHR Strategic Planner Visits the Other Washington.  John Schmied was invited by the National Environmental Education Foundation to go to D.C. to accept the 2011 Bartlett Award. This event provided John and his wife Marie, another FOTHR member, an outstanding opportunity to share with government policy makers the challenges and rewards of teaching today’s students in today’s classrooms.

Schmied made presentations to a variety of representatives from National Environmental Education Foundation, NOAA, National Fish & Wildlife, Audubon, National Wildlife Foundation & Chesapeake Bay Foundation. (shown above) He explained his system for embedding environmental grounding work throughout the school year to give students a strong sense of place. He further described his use of discovery approach to student understanding of environmental issues of population density and the complexity of sharing common goods and services. Having a strong grounding in where our water, energy and resources come from and go to is the key to maximizing student activism in maintaining a healthy environment. “You cannot appreciate what you don’t understand.”

Student summer campers seining in Chesapeake Bay
The couple also explained how important it was for today’s teachers to be equipped with access to reliable, observable data on issues that affect them locally. Students can then actually see for themselves what is happening to our air, our land and our water. Each agency offered us a snap shot of their own efforts to engage young people with programs and websites that promote the idea of “No Child Left Inside”. We learned that there are several choices for teacher support in using school grounds as laboratories for authentic sustainability data collection and community activism and intend to pursue work with each group.

(Marie Hartford/FOTHR and Sarah Kosicki/NEEF at National Wildlife Federation)
The policy makers were very supportive of the work we are pursuing with Friends of the Hidden River
.  We repeatedly heard how rare it was for them to be able to speak with people who work directly with students. The team made many new friends who expressed that they were inspired by this example and want to continue supporting the work of the Friends. It was a strong validation that Washington State is a true leader in how to embed education into the process of delivering the goods and services of our natural resources to the public. We received strong confirmation that the Environmental Education and Community Center at Brightwater will serve as a national model for how this can be accomplished.


Added on 08/02/2011

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Environmental Education by The Friends of the Hidden River News