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6 July 2005

JSU Field School Teacher Workshops
a Success in Three States!

JSU Field Schools recently presented two exciting teacher workshops: “From the Deepest Canyon to the Highest Mountain”. This program consisted of two consecutive three-day sessions: the first at DeSoto State Park and the second at Cheaha State Park. Educators (including scientists and artists) from Jacksonville State University Field Schools and Camp McDowell Science Center led these immersion-based workshops. Thirty six teachers from Alabama, Georgia & Tennessee attended these sessions and rated the workshop as “exceptionally valuable” and “incredibly fun.”

Similar to riding a bicycle, our educators learn by direct personal discovery. Teachers grew confident in what they were learning, and the new abilities became theirs forever…whether it was harvesting benthic organisms from underneath river rocks to measuring water quality, identifying plants by sight, scent and taste, pinching natural clay into a Native American-style vessel,crushing a Snickers bar to learn how the Appalachian mountains were formed, holding a live non-venomous snake, or creating a nature journal. These abilities will be repeated in their classroom situations and utilized as teaching tools.

We also hope that our workshop educators will bring their classes to our K-12 immersion field trips over the next school year for similar experiences. The program need was determined through a survey of educators within a 150 mile radius of the organizational corridor (Little River Canyon to Cheaha State Park). This workshop is funded through a FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) appropriation from the U.S. Department of Education.

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