HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced a series of upcoming professional development opportunities offered as part of the agency’s Project WILD program. Classroom teachers, early childhood teachers, informal educators, homeschooler leaders and Scout and youth group leaders are welcome to participate in these workshops.
Project WILD is an award-winning, international, hands-on conservation education program. It focuses on wildlife and the environment and how humans interrelate with both. WILD provides educators, primarily kindergarten through 12th grade, with interdisciplinary activities that help address state and national education standards and help educators comply with mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. WILD’s materials are scientifically sound and use educational practices proven to be effective.
WILD’s mission is to provide wildlife-based conservation education that fosters responsible action. WILD’s goal is to develop the awareness, skills, knowledge and commitment that are necessary for people to make informed decisions and act constructively and responsibly toward wildlife and the environment.
Theresa Alberici coordinates the program in Pennsylvania through the Game Commission’s Bureau of Information and Education. She works closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Education as well as prominent conservation and environmental education organizations throughout the state and the country. Her dedication to wildlife and environmental awareness, along with her talents in creating curricula and ability to work with educators have earned her recognition from the state Department of Education and Pennsylvania’s conservation education community.
“Educators leave Project WILD workshops with a renewed appreciation of wildlife and are excited about how they’re going to share what they’ve learned with their students,” Alberici said. “This year, wildlife agencies nationwide celebrated one million educators ‘Gone WILD.’ More than one million educators have been trained in the program since Project WILD originated in 1983.
“Project WILD isn’t about teaching kids what to think about wildlife; it’s about teaching kids how to think about wildlife and giving them the skills they need to become responsibly active citizens who recognize the importance of wildlife and the environment. The milestone of training one million educators means that, through Project WILD, more than 53 million people worldwide have experience in thinking responsibly about natural resources. Last year alone, state wildlife agencies ordered more than 65,000 guides for distribution to educators across the country, reaching 1.8 million students with information on wildlife conservation.”
Following is a listing of one-day educator trainings scheduled for the coming months:
WILD about Peregrines!: Join the Game Commission, Department of Environmental Protection and ZOOAmerica for a free workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 25, at the Rachel Carson State Office Building in downtown Harrisburg, Dauphin County. Workshop participants will explore the successes of peregrine falcon reintroduction in Pennsylvania; examine falcon specifics and endangered species concepts; and observe falcons in Harrisburg. Participating teachers are eligible for 5.0 Act 48 credit hours. Lunch will be brown bag, or participants can visit a concession in the building. Deadline to apply is March 18. Contact: DEP Environmental Education and Information Center, 717-772-1644 (phone) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WILD about Endangered Species: Join educators from the Game Commission and ZOOAmerica from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 8, at HersheyPark ZOOAmerica, Hershey, Dauphin County. Workshop participants will examine the concepts and issues surrounding threatened and endangered species; investigate how and why species become threatened or endangered; examine laws affecting these species; and explore methods biologists are using in species reintroduction. The fee is $25, and will include lunch, a snack and all materials. Deadline to apply is April 1. Contact: Elaine Gruin, ZOOAmerica, 717-534-3831 (phone) or email@example.com.
Growing UP WILD! Join the Game Commission and the Monroe County Environmental Education Center on from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 15, at Monroe County EE Center in WHERE, for the newest Project WILD program, which is focused on those pre-Kindergarten youth ages three to seven. The cost is $40 and includes materials and a snack. Workshop attendees will participate in this hands-on, environmental professional development opportunity that correlates to Pennsylvania State Education Standards, Head Start Domains and NAEYC Standards. Participants also are eligible for Act 48 hours. Contact: Monroe County EE Center at 570-629-3061 (phone), firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.mcconservation.org.
PA Biodiversity! Join the Game Commission and Dauphin County Wildwood Park from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 21, to explore the vast array of wild plants, animals and ecosystems at the Olewine Nature Center in Wildwood Park, Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County. Through the use of resource materials and hands-on activities, session participants will investigate the concepts of biodiversity, explore Pennsylvania’s biodiversity and examine local and global issues relating to biodiversity in a format designed for teachers of middle and high school level. However, background information is valuable for teachers of all grade levels. Participating teachers will receive the “Pennsylvania Supplement to Windows on the Wild” and “Windows on the Wild by World Wildlife Fund.” The session will feature both indoor and outdoor activities and includes a field exploration. The activities used in this session are correlated with the Environment and Ecology Standards, and may be used to fulfill Act 48 hours. The cost to attend is $10. The deadline to apply is April 15. Contact: Olewine Nature Center at 717-221-0292.
School Yard Habitats/ Forest Ecology: Join the Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on May 7, at the Jacobsburg EE Center in Wind Gap, north of Allentown, to gain a better understanding of the ecological roles that native plants and forested systems play in the habitat needs of wildlife populations. In addition to a hands-on interactive study of an established native plant garden, participants also will visit a series of evolving forests ranging from early successional to old growth. The free workshop will provide educators with books and materials addressing society’s growing disconnect from nature, as well as other materials that promote insightful understanding of current environmental issues. Participants will need to bring their own lunch. Deadline to apply is April 30. Contact: Bill Sweeney at Jacobsburg EE Center, 610-746-2808 or email@example.com