The EPA eco-explorers team from the Needham Public Schools and its community partners are wrapping up two years of work on their EPA grant this spring with an Open House on June 7th at the Mitchell School. The Eco-Explorers Leadership Team involved in the work have created some amazing sustainable projects that will make a difference for the students of NPS today and into the future.

Their successes include:

  • The newly created annual “Walk Gently on the Earth” celebration for Earth Day, created by our Mitchell team members – where they provided a week long in school program for all grade levels to get involved learning about soil, planting and farming, learning strategies to maintain the outdoor spaces and preparing planting beds. This was followed by a family get together, Friday afterschool, on the grounds with music and centers for supporting learning outdoors.
  • The Kindergarten After School Enrichment Eco-Explorers Leadership Team members created a terrific “10 Minute Fieldtrip Curriculum Guide” for each member of their staff with a teacher training workshop to accompany it which will be given in the fall at a district professional development day.
  • The Science Center Eco-Explorers Leadership Team members who created several curricula, teacher guides and accompanying kits of materials: “Lima Beans and Marigolds”, Plants, Soil and Sunflowers”, Ladybugs: Friends of the Garden”, “Maple Sugaring: Technology of Trees” to name only a few. With the help of DPW and Park & Rec this team has developed new fieldtrips for grades 2, 3 and 4 to be implemented next year and are collaborating on curriculum about sewer and water for the grade 2 soil unit – what’s underground.
  • The “Eat the Rainbow” designed by our food service Eco-Explorers Leadership Team
  • The Hillside Eco-Explorers Leadership Team wrote a PTC grant to bring in a mentor and develop a buddy curriculum for observing and documenting nature around the school. They are also undergoing a major plan to grow herbs, vegetables and fruit on vertical growing walls, as well as writing a corporate grant to secure additional dollars to provide outdoor explorations opportunities for students like Bird Blinds for the viewing the swamp lands from afar and elevated planting beds so students can their hands in the dirt to grow flowers.
  • Our Broadmeadow Eco-Explorers Leadership Team members developed a series of buddy activities and Kindergarten learning experiences out doors to enhance science, literacy and math skills within the curriculum.
  • A new district Eco-Explorers Junior Ranger Program – called Green Team – who have presented at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Science Festival, Newman School Community Meeting and who on a daily basis make contributions to change our world for the better.

At the June 7th Open House at Mitchell School, you’ll be able to:

  • Explore the Courtyard! – Engage in outdoor learning experiences in science, writing, social studies, math, and art throughout the Courtyard, guided by Mitchell students and alums.
  • Enjoy a panel discussion about the integration of the Courtyard into the Mitchell School curriculum and community. Hear how Alice Evans’ vision of a COGdesign space where students and teachers could engage in a process of creation and discovery and ownership has come to life over the past seven years. Learn how the Eco-Explorers Project is moving learning outdoors, empowering Needham students to become stewards of their environment.
  • Review the many projects, curricula and activities that have been developed due to our EPA supportL and Eco-Explorers Leadership Team endeavors. Browse our documentation panels. Meet the district-wide student Eco-Explorers Green Ranger Club and learn about their wonderful projects.
EPA Eco-explorers grant wraps up with an open house
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