Enhancing Webster Transitional School's Environmental Education Through an Activity Guide for the Outdoor Classroom
Levy, Janice M.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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In 1977 an outdoor classroom was designed and developed at Webster Transitional School in Cedarburg, WI. No curriculum or inservice accompanied the development. Although a district environmental education curriculum was written in 1988, use of the outdoor site did not improve. This project involved enhancing the existing natural area at Webster Transitional School, and the implementation of an activity guide that infuses the sixth and seventh grade science and environmental education curriculums into the natural area. Literature suggests that learning in an outdoor classroom is an effective approach to more efficient learning of EE. The plan at Webster involved developing the outdoor classroom in four main ways: 1) general clean up; 2) prairie planting; 3) tree identification/ nature walk; and 4) shrub planting. The local Cedarburg Rotary Club was invited to help with the general clean up. This generated their interest in the natural area and evolved into continuing support through funding for the remainder of the outdoor classroom development. To achieve the goal of having sixth and seventh grade science teachers use the newly developed outdoor classroom, an activity guide was designed. The activity guide integrates the science and environmental education curriculums into the outdoor classroom. The activities from the guide were tested in the fall of 1995. In March of 1996 all sixth and seventh grade science teachers were introduced to the activity guide with the hope that they would find it useful.