Three teachers from Effingham County schools were selected recently to spend part of their summer engaging in hands-on field work and dynamic techniques to integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and environmental education as part of the Georgia Aquarium’s “Creeks to Coast” program and Keystone Science School’s 2015 Key Issues Institute: Bringing Environmental Issues to the Classroom.
Tonya Jones of South Effingham Middle School and Jessica Lyons of South Effingham High School were selected and sponsored by Georgia-Pacific to attend “Creeks to Coast.” The interactive workshop gives teachers the tools, information and best practices to effectively teach environmental and watershed issues to their students.
The week-long workshop is designed around interactive learning. Field and cultural experiences will include invertebrate sampling, tours of hydroelectric plants, fish hatchery and water treatment facility visits, hikes with interpretive rangers, meetings with scientific researchers, and exploration of oyster reef and barrier island ecosystems. A stop will include a tour of Georgia-Pacific’s paper mill in Cedar Springs to learn about water in the manufacturing process.
In its third year, the “Creeks to Coast” program, led by experts at Georgia Aquarium and funded in part by the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, will be held July 7-14. Jones and Lyons are two of six middle and high school teachers Georgia-Pacific is sponsoring from its facility communities in Georgia, New York, North Carolina Massachusetts and Tennessee.
Limited to 20 selected teachers, this intensive program explores the Chattahoochee River system from its headwaters near the North Georgia Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico at Apalachicola Bay, Fla. Based on their “Creeks to Coast” experience, teachers commit to develop lesson plans for use in their classrooms and share their experience with fellow teachers.
Lauren Stallard of Effingham County High School was selected and sponsored by Georgia-Pacific to attend Key Issues Institute. Held every June and July, the Key Issues program brings together K-12 educators from around the world for a highly interactive, four and a half-day workshop. The program is designed to help teachers of all subjects build students’ critical thinking skills while also reinforcing teachers’ confidence and skills in bringing environmental issues and STEM-based principles into the classroom. Teachers learn to present scientific concepts in an unbiased way to their students while discovering ways to make environmental issues and STEM interesting and engaging.
Stallard was one of 14 teachers sponsored to attend Key Issues from Georgia-Pacific’s facility communities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
All three Effingham teachers were recently recognized for their selection and participation by G-P Savannah River Mill vice president of manufacturing Monty Brown.
“The Keystone Science School and ‘Creeks to Coast’ programs give teachers the chance to learn about environmental and water issues first-hand, and they also provide tools they can use to share these important lessons with students in our local community year after year,” said Brown. “Georgia-Pacific is proud to support educators by helping them highlight important environmental and water issues in engaging and creative ways.”
Effingham Schools assistant superintendent Dr. Greg Arnsdorff also emphasized the value that hands-on learning opportunities like “Creeks to Coast” and “Key Issues” provide for teachers.
“Georgia-Pacific’s partnership with the Effingham County School District has been a long-term commitment that has reaped many benefits for our teachers and students,” Arnsdorff said. “G-P has continued to seek opportunities to support the district through direct service and professional learning. The awesome professional learning opportunities such as the recently awarded Creeks to Coast teacher development program and the Keystone Science Institute ensures that our teachers keep learning relevant in our ever changing world. These opportunities would not be available to our staff without the support of Georgia- Pacific.”