Michael Sarill (ELP 2016) | Director, Project Noah & Nature School, United States
Project Noah recently launched the Nature School in August of 2020. Nature School is a new environmental education resource for elementary school science teachers.
Nature School includes three publicly available dynamic lesson plans, Ms. Mallory nature education videos, a September activity, a nature calendar, and fun wildlife facts—with more resources to come over the course of the school year!
Our owl lesson is a good template for what teachers can expect from each professionally designed lesson plan. It includes an owl field guide for kids, owl ecology, owl species list, a spotlight on five special owls of North America, owl reproduction, fun facts about owls, owl conservation status, and a dynamic student activity related to owl conservation.
Nature School’s focus is outdoor learning activities to help science teachers as they navigate a difficult re-opening process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our first activity for September invites students to design a tunnel to help frogs safely cross a road. Millions of frogs, along with other amphibians, are killed from vehicles every year. This activity teaches students about the threats amphibians face from cars when crossing roads.
The very first toad tunnel in the US was built in Davis, California in 1995 to help amphibians cross the Pole Line Road overpass. Later, in 2003, a group of Cornell University students designed fences to help guide amphibians through tunnels that already existed beneath the road. These fences helped guide the frogs to spring breeding ponds in Cornell’s Botanic Gardens.
Students are invited to learn about their local frog species, study their seasonal movements, discover their mating ponds, and research which roads pose the greatest risk.
As students discover the threats amphibians face when crossing roads, they also learn about the ecology behind amphibian’s seasonal movements and are introduced to the concept of wildlife crossings.
Students are guided through our program by Ms. Mallory Lindsay, a professional wildlife educator and science communicator with a passion for nature storytelling! Mallory’s mission is to ignite curiosity by encouraging children (especially young girls) to fall in love with mud, bugs, and backyard exploration.
Throughout the Nature School, we also feature the wildlife photography of Dan Doucette, a horticulturist from Niagara Falls who travels each winter to photograph exotic flora and fauna in their native habitat in the tropics.
Nature School’s signature environmental curriculum will build on these resources with more in-depth environmental lessons, videos, activities and resources.
Our goal is to help teachers transform even the smallest backyard, schoolyard or local green space into a curiosity-creating nature classroom - and in the process, help to inspire kids to protect their local wildlife!
To learn more about Project Noah Nature School, please visit: https://natureschool.projectnoah.org/