Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Wildland Resources

First Advisor

Chris Call

Abstract

Wetland Wonders Field Experience Program (WWFEP) at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge connects U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation and education goals with an educational need (understanding wetlands) in the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem by using innovative education and volunteer initiatives. The WWFEP has two principal components, the Education Program Module (EPM) and the Volunteer Instructor Module (VIM).

The EPM provides a well rounded environmental educational experience to third, fourth and fifth grade students based on constructivism, inquiry-based learning, subject integration and theoretical model of environmental education. Third graders study Wetland Creatures (adaptations and habitats), fourth graders study the Wetland Ecosystem (abiotic and biotic relationships), and fifth graders study the Great Salt Lake Watershed (wetland function, threats, and management). The EPM is divided into three lesson components: the pre-field, field, and post field. The pre-field component includes the use of student directed learning centers (discovery drawers) in the classroom to engage and teach students about the refuge, reducing the need for teacher-driven pre-site lessons. The field component is a 4-hour, station centered visit to the refuge where students acquire knowledge and awareness about wetlands through hands-on activities. The post-field component consists of a 1-hour classroom visit that unites the entire experience by reviewing field content and applying learning to a relevant wetland conservation problem.

The VIM provides a protocol for recruiting and training parents and community members to teach the field component of the program, which reduces refuge planning and staffing pressures. The WWFEP was field-tested in spring 2002 at two elementary schools in the Box Elder School District. Teacher, students, and volunteers were formally and informally evaluated. Overall, evaluations indicated that the EPM and VIM were well organized and well received. Evaluation comments noting deficiencies in content and/or structure were used to improve the final version of the WWFEP.

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Life Sciences Commons

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