Home

The Critter Camera – All Scavengers Invited

1 Comment

The Critter Cam was setup by a group of middle-school age students during a Swamp Exploration-Wild About Wildlife program. The trail camera was positioned over the remains of a recently harvested and butchered white-tailed deer to catch the mix of scavengers that might take advantage of an easy winter treat and forest feast.

Within the first few days and nights the camera captured coyote, fox, red tail hawk, vulture, crow, red bellied woodpecker, blue jay and deer.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Lenape Site and Native American Day

Leave a comment

Together with Mike Dennis of Traditional Earth Skills we’ve created a Lenape Learning Area where students can experience and participate in Native American educational programming including field trips, camps, workshops and special events.

The site creates wonderful opportunities for program and event visitors to participate in a variety of experiential hands-on and skill-based activities and crafts.  Some of the offerings have included Three-Sisters Garden planting, Sewing Medicine Bags and Moccasins, Dyeing bracelets with Native Plants, Crushing Corn with Mortar and Pestle, Throwing Corn Cob Darts, Fire-Friction and Fire Building Skills, Cord Making, Simulated Archaeological Digs, Wild Edible and Medicinal Plant Walks and much more.

The Lenape Learning area includes: Wigwam Shelter, Mortar and Pestle Corn Grinder, Garden Area with Deer Antler and Scapula Gardening Tools, Food Cache Pit, Corn Cob Dart Throwing Station, Fish Drying Station and Hide Tanning Display.

To learn more about program opportunities in NJ, check out Mike’s site at www.TraditionalEarthSkills.com 

Butterfly Tent Safari 2015

Leave a comment

Every summer I work with staff and volunteers at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland, New Jersey to host a Butterfly Tent Safari event.  The aim is to educate guests about butterfly conservation through wonderment that leads to active conservation and enhancement of our own backyard, schoolyard and community habitats. To learn bout hosting your own butterfly tent safari or bugfest event check out “Buzz Into Action, The Insect Curriculum For Grades K-4“.

Below are a few photographs of the program and an article from the Star Ledger that includes photographs of kids within the tent.  As always I’m happy to share information if you have any questions about setting up a similar event.

NJ Families Flock to Butterfly Tent Safari – Star Ledger Article

David Alexander, senior naturalist with Essex County Parks, has been involved with the butterfly event since it started in July 2010. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get connected with nature,” he said.  According to Alexander, the tent is filled with a variety of nectar plants and host plants and over 50 butterflies.

David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula.  He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife.  You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com

Two antennae up! Jessica R. Kratz’s Review of Buzz Into Action

Leave a comment

Building from the successful format and platform used in “Hop Into Action: The Curriculum Guide for Grades K-4 – PB287X,” David Alexander was able to take his subject matter a few steps further in “Buzz into Action.” Granted, the subject matter of insects and related invertebrates lends itself to greater diversity of explorations and extensions, but David also goes further in other areas. David’s passion and personality shine through even greater in this guide, and it is especially evident when he draws directly from his experience at Essex County Environmental Center in providing a readily applicable blueprint for starting a Bug Club. Clever quips and cultural references such as “Savage Garden” and “The Sweet Life” are well-placed and greatly appreciated. Although written for elementary school learners, he does not shy away from relevant vocabulary or content, and as such, activities such as “Insects in Winter Scavenger Hunt” can easily be used in higher grades and are a great option for homeschoolers, scouts, nature centers, and families with mixed-age learners. An extensive glossary will help define any term that comes up in your entomological exploration. The activities in “Buzz into Action” pair well with a variety of service learning activities or curricular units you may already be doing, such as composting, gardening, Certified Wildlife Habitat, or GreenSchool! David also provides an amazing resource list that will provide a starting point for any citizen science project, special event, or curricular journey you wish to embark on. David’s activities are readily, if not instantly, applicable. A week after receiving my copy, I was already using the Seasonal Discoveries journal page with ruler markings for kids to measure and record observations about natural objects during a “Get Out and Play” day event at my nature center. I also plan on incorporating other lessons into early childhood education programming and am looking at pages such as “Mommy and Me Metamorphosis” in considering how to re-design an exhibit. I look forward to making some of David’s Famous Seed Balls soon as well. If you do not yet own a copy of “Buzz into Action,” I suggest you swim, crawl, or fly to your nearest internet connection to place your order today.

Buzz Into Action

Press Release: Discover Camouflaged Critters and More With NSTA`s Buzz Into Action: The Insect Curriculum Guide for Grades K-4

Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE:

Discover Camouflaged Critters and More With NSTA`s Buzz Into Action: The Insect Curriculum Guide for Grades K-4

Wed Mar 7, 2012 8:30am EST

NSTA’s new Buzz Into Action: The Insect Curriculum Guide for Grades K–4 is a lively, cross-disciplinary resource to help teach students about the world’s most abundant and accessible group of animals. The book’s 20 hands-on lessons work individually or as a curriculum, in the field or in the classroom. The investigations involve scientific inquiry and knowledge building that treats science as a process, not forced memorization.

Activities range from the basic—how to identify an insect—to the irresistible—“Pollination Party Relay Race,” “Camouflaged Critters,” and “Colony Collapse Town Meeting.” For ease of use, each lesson plan provides

  • A quick-read overview of the activity’s requirements
  • Detailed objectives, materials lists, and background information
  • Step-by-step procedures and reproducible activity sheets
  • Assessments and extensions
  • Reference materials including field guides, websites, and story books that complement lessons and help teachers home in on species from their own region

Whether it’s used by a classroom teacher, camp leader, or homeschooler, Buzz Into Action will have young scientists buzzing—and humming, chirping, and clamoring for more.

About the Author

David Alexander is an experienced naturalist who uses the environment to educate diverse groups of students of all ages. He wrote the award-winning NSTA Press book Hop Into Action: The Amphibian Curriculum Guide for Grades K–4. He also facilitates a Bug Club with themed monthly meetings.

You can browse sample pages of this new book free at the NSTA Science Store website at http://www.nsta.org/store/

For additional information or to purchase Buzz into Action and other books from NSTA Press, visit the NSTA Science Store at www.nsta.org/store. To order by phone, call 800-277-5300 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET weekdays. Outside the United States and Canada, call 301-638-0200. The 168-page book is priced at $23.95 and discount-priced for NSTA members at $19.16. (Stock #PB319X, ISBN #978-1-936959-12-9)

The Arlington, Va.-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes more than 50,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

NSTA Pressproduces 20–25 new books each year. Focused on the preK–college market and specifically aimed at teachers of science, NSTA Press titles offer a unique blend of accurate scientific content and sound teaching strategies.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Jennifer Gulley, 703-312-9285
jgulley@nsta.org

Buzz Into Action

A Go-To Resource: Must-Have: Jessica R. Kratz’s Review of Hop Into Action

Leave a comment

Looking to have your students leap from the sidelines to participating in citizen science? To spring forward from awareness to action? David Alexander’s fun and easy-to-follow curriculum guide Hop Into Action [NSTA Press, 2010] is a fantastic way for educators, youth leaders, and naturalists to become informed and involved with frogs, salamanders, and other amphibians.

Alexander leaves virtually no stone [or log] unturned, approaching the subject from nearly all angles, and all disciplines. He provides information on the ethical, practical, and logistical considerations for the field and the classroom, from handling techniques to finding or creating an appropriate amphibian habitat. There is an extensive resource list of related age-appropriate books and materials, a thorough glossary and index which is immensely helpful for building science vocabulary, and an elaborate matrix correlating the 20 activities to the North American Association for Environmental Education [NAAEE] Guidelines for grades K-4. Alexander also offers ways to adapt the lessons for our youngest naturalists.

Alexander’s 20 activities are clearly written, require few additional materials [which are easy and inexpensive to obtain] and easy to follow. A friendly frog appears on the introductory page of each activity. This familiar character instantly welcomes you to each lesson, dressed and posed to provide a quick and amusing introduction. From artist to businessman, from diner to singer, our multi-faceted guide is a welcoming host and reflects how enjoyable and interdisciplinary the guide is. The clear illustrations and clever comparisons [i.e., comparing the size of a frog to a tennis ball] make both teacher and student more comfortable with measurement and help both ease into scientific procedures. Alexander also offer fresh approaches to familiar activities [i.e., “Lily Pad Venn Diagrams”] and fun, modern ways of expressing and exploring ideas, such as “Herp, Herp Hooray” [amphibian conservation plans] and “Frog Pond Lifeguard” [aquatic invertebrate survey and ecological health assessment.

With nearly 1/3 of amphibian species known to be threatened or extinct, and at least 42% of amphibian species declining in population for reasons such as habitat loss, climate change, and fungal disease, according to the 2008 Global Amphibian Assessment […], it is important to guide children to understand and appreciate amphibians before it is too late. It also provides an opportunity for students to connect to a global extinction issue closer to home, using species they can observe nearby.

Hop Into Action is a fantastic vehicle for getting elementary school teachers more comfortable with and involved in science. It is also a convenient reference and source of activities for camps, youth groups, nature centers, and other non-formal settings. Its lessons can be used individually, as a building block for a unit, or a foundation for a year-long investigation. Hop Into Action also makes a fantastic gift for the educators in your life, and is truly a gift to amphibians everywhere.

Hop Into Action Guides Educators Through Environmental Instruction for Young Learners

Press Release: Hop Into Action Guides Educators Through Environmental Instruction for Young Learners

Leave a comment

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 7, 2010

In the midst of a global amphibian extinction crisis, it is more important than ever for classroom teachers, home school educators, naturalists, and camp leaders to incorporate effective environmental education into their K–4 agenda. Hop Into Action was created to serve as an interdisciplinary curriculum guide for the classroom and field. Twenty standards-based, cross-curricular investigations introduce children to the joy of amphibians while using scientific inquiry and critical thinking.

Hop Into Action offers cross-disciplinary lessons that can be applied to the areas of language arts, physical education, art, math, civics, history, and media.  Author David Alexander designed the lessons for multiple learning styles and to take advantage of children’s natural curiosity about the environment through observation, photographs, games, and direct instruction. He includes detailed objectives, background information, step-by-step procedures, evaluation questions, and additional web resources. Most importantly, he hopes students will learn to love, appreciate, and protect amphibians as a result of the ideas provided in this guide.

About the Author

David Alexander is an environmental specialist at Essex County Environmental Center. He is also an experienced facilitator of teacher workshops and trainings and a consultant on curriculum development.

You can browse sample pages of this new book for free at the NSTA Science Store website at www.nsta.org/store.

For additional information or to purchase Hop Into Action: The Amphibian Curriculum Guide for Grades K–4and other books from NSTA Press, visit the NSTA Science Store at www.nsta.org/store. To order by phone, call 800-277-5300 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET weekdays. Outside the United States and Canada, call 301-638-0200. The 132-page book is priced at $24.95and discount-priced for NSTA members at $19.96. (Stock # PB287X, ISBN # 978-1-936137-07-75)

The Arlington, Virginia–based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes more than 50,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

NSTA Press produces 15–25 new books each year. Focused on the pre-K–college market and specifically aimed at teachers of science, NSTA Press titles offer a unique blend of accurate scientific content and sound teaching strategies.

SOURCE National Science Teachers Association

Hop Into Action Guides Educators Through Environmental Instruction for Young Learners

%d bloggers like this: