Ecological Education Program

Ecological Education Program

The Ecological Education Program offers opportunities for K-12 students, teachers, and community members to engage in place-based ecological education through school programs, teacher workshops, and volunteering. Our programs are experiential, hands-on, and inspire inquiry and action. We partner with others to engage the future stewards of Oregon in the study of native plants and habitat restoration through service-learning and curriculum development. Our goal is to connect people with nature and a sense of place through ecological education, service-learning, and citizen science.

Guiding Principles

We design our education programs to embody the following characteristics:

  • Place-Based: The local community is the starting point for teaching concepts in science and culture; students learn about where they live
  • Hands-On: Students actively use all of their senses to explore nature, stewardship, and science
  • Conservation in Action: The activities we do with students are tied to efforts to meet local, regional, and national conservation goals
  • Inquiry-Based: Students learn science by asking and answering questions as a guide to discovering the world around them
  • Service-Learning: The learning activities that students do directly benefit their community, motivating students by giving extrinsic value to their work
  • Skill-Building: Students learn valuable skills in science, horticulture, problem solving, critical thinking, and stewardship
  • Professional and Peer Mentoring: Students build relationships with peers, older student mentors, and professional mentors that give them multiple perspectives and confidence
  • Experiential: Students don’t just learn about restoration, students DO restoration

Examples of Our Activities

  • Engaging local elementary, middle and high school students in habitat restoration in schoolyard and natural areas
  • Providing curriculum and other resources for teachers in ecological education
  • Hosting community education workshops
  • Providing environmental education opportunities to incarcerated youth at Linn-Benton Juvenile Detention Center
  • Partnering with the Department of Corrections in six states to provide vocational training and science education opportunities to incarcerated adults through the Sustainability in Prisons Project – Oregon and the Sagebrush in Prisons Project.
Program Director Stacy Moore helping students restore riparian habitat at Bald Hill near Corvallis, Oregon

Aves Compartidas Program

Connecting students bi-nationally in the Willamette River Watershed and the Laja River Watershed through shared and migratory birds.

  • Aves Compartidas means “shared birds” in Spanish.
  • In 2020, we have adapted our lessons to be online for distance learning. Visit this program’s YouTube page and resources page (in englishen español) for videos, activities, and other learning resources!
  • IAE education staff are working with students at English and Spanish dual-immersion schools in the Willamette Valley as part of the larger Willamette Laja Aves Compartidas Program which is engaging four schools in the Willamette Valley and five schools in the Laja River Watershed in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The Willamette-Laja Twinning Partnership engages youth, educators, birders, and restoration practitioners bi-nationally.
  • In partnership with Marys River Watershed Council and Greenbelt Land Trust, we are also engaging bilingual high school “peer mentors” in environmental education and empowering then to assist with elementary school classroom and field lessons at Bald Hill Farm.
  • We are teaching hands-on ecology lessons about migrating birds, habitats, adaptations, and freshwater ecosystem health at English-Spanish dual-immersion schools.
  • With funding from the Gray Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust and many others, this project is part of a larger collaboration among many partners and sponsors, click here for the full list.

Local School Ecological Education Outreach Projects

We work with teachers, students, and volunteers in the local community to foster outdoor-based ecological education.

Engaging in habitat restoration around the local Corvallis area
Growing native plants in school greenhouses
Monitoring stream health, tracking of invasive species removal success
Classroom lessons about watersheds and native ecosystems

Are you a teacher, administrator, parent, or community member wanting to get involved with IAE’s education programs? Please contact us if you have any questions or wish to form a partnership.

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