MDC workshop offers teachers tools and training for innovative educational programs

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Published on: May. 24, 2012

ST. LOUIS — Area educators will have a chance to expand their professional credentials and acquire helpful educational resources with the upcoming Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature Schools Conservation Workshop for Teachers.

The workshop takes place Monday, June 18, through Friday, June 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Participants will meet at five different MDC sites during the course of the week: August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles, Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood, Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake, Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood, and then set out on a Meramec River float from Pacific Palisades Conservation Area in Pacific.

“It’s a chance to get immersed in conservation,” said Liz Lyons, MDC St. Louis Outreach and Education District Supervisor. “Educators will also walk away with loads of teaching materials,” she added.

Teachers will become certified in four different MDC instructional curricula, including Discover Nature Schools, Project WET, Project Wild and Project Learning Tree.

Each of these programs is designed to get students excited about nature while they are young, with the aim of producing lifelong conservationists.

For example, the Discover Nature Schools Program, designed for grades K through 12, offers full-color instructional units that meet Missouri grade-level expectations and include teacher guides. It also offers teacher training and grant funding for materials, equipment, field trips and even outdoor classrooms.

In addition, teaching professionals can opt to receive three graduate or undergraduate credit hours from Lindenwood University for taking the workshop.

The last day of the workshop will be a float trip by canoe on the Meramec River. “We want teachers to come away from this fun workshop energized and inspired to share what they’ve learned with their students,” said Lyons.

Participation in the Discover Nature Schools Workshop is free. However it is limited to 25 applicants and requires advanced registration. The workshop is funded through a grant from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, which covers the cost of all curriculum materials for teachers attending. A fee of $60 per credit hour does apply for those seeking college credit.

To register for the Discover Nature Schools Workshop, call 636-300-1953, extension 4120. Compete details on MDC’s Discover Nature Schools Program can be found at http://mdc.mo.gov/education/inside-classroom/discover-nature-schools.

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