By: Ben Anderson
The Environmental Leadership Center of Warren Wilson College has received a $9,150 grant from the Pigeon River Fund to support implementing the EcoTeam program in Haywood County Schools.
The center and Haywood schools will work in collaboration with students from Western Carolina University and Haywood Community College in the first phase of the program in 2007.
EcoTeam is a science-based environmental curriculum for third-grade students that correlates with the N.C. Standard Course of Study. The curriculum uses fundamental ecological concepts and the Learning Cycle model of science education to connect students to the natural world. Students learn about their ecological address and, in western North Carolina, about the river basin and their relationship to it.
Developed in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots program, EcoTeam has been taught by college students to more than 10,000 students, including more than 7,000 third graders in Buncombe County alone. Undergraduate students teach EcoTeam under the supervision of educators and staff of sponsoring higher education institutions.
EcoTeam builds partnerships between higher education and local elementary schools, and trains college students to teach effective multidisciplinary, ecology-based environmental education," said Stan Cross, education coordinator of the Environmental Leadership Center.
The Pigeon River Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina was created by the State of North Carolina and Progress Energy to improve the streams and rivers of Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties. According to its website, the fund "provides grants to nonprofit and public agencies that improve surface water quality, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, expand public access and increase awareness about protecting these resources."