Literacy Programs Linked with Hands-on Projects
Lands and Waters South offers three environmental literacy units for Kindergarten through 6th grade classes. These reading programs can stand alone or be incorporated into schoolyard greening projects; they can be taught individually or as a three-part series. Each story is correlated to common core standards.
My Roommates are a Bunch of Worms is usually the first of our units to be presented. After reading the story, students create worm bins for the classroom as an introduction into the world of conservation projects. Compost produced by the bins is then added by students to green spaces on the school grounds.
The second unit, Happenings in Our Habitats, usually follows. Watersheds and habitat loss through human development are the subjects of this story. Students conduct an assessment of the habitat offered by their own school grounds and brainstorm ways to improve that habitat.
The third story, Wetlands, introduces students to the importance of wetlands as wildlife habitat and as filters for our waterways. Students look for places in the schoolyard where a bog, sponge garden, or vernal pool could be created or a natural wetland restored.
All three of these presentations provide room for discussion directed by students, though the presenter will ensure that certain important topics are covered. The amount and complexity of information presented is adjusted to fit the age of the audience. Actual conservation projects (creating a bog, planting a pollinator garden, etc.) are not required as part of the series and are undertaken based on numerous factors, including the availability of grant funding.