The Ridges in Baileys Harbor, WI has received a $1,000 sustainability grant from the Door County Community Foundation for its Washington Island Environmental Education Pilot Program. The goal of the program is to connect concepts learned in the classroom with place-based environmental education.
“As residents of Door County, students and their communities are surrounded by unique habitats like The Ridges. However, teachers often don’t have the time or resources to teach environmental education due to standardization of mandatory curriculum,” said Steve Leonard, Executive Director of The Ridges. “One of the ways we can begin to address this issue is to partner with Washington Island School to provide students with an experiential education that bridges what students are learning at school and what is happening in the surrounding habitat.”
The Ridges started the Washington Island Environmental Education Pilot Program this fall. Ridges’ Environmental Educators will build upon foundational science skills that students learn at school and tie those skills into relevant, tangible concepts. The lessons will correspond to Next Generation Science Standards for each grade and will be planned in correspondence with teachers. They will take students outside to different places around Washington Island and teach place-based curriculum that connects with different units that students are learning in the classroom. A total of 9 field trips will be scheduled monthly from September 2019 through May 2020.
The goals of the program are to inspire students to love and care for the places they call home, as well as to help teach critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. Anna Foster, Ridges Environmental Interpreter, is leading the initiative. “This educational experience extends beyond the classroom and incorporates different parts of Washington Island. We are excited to have the opportunity to teach students about this unique habitat and instill a sense of environmental consciousness through education.”
The Ridges is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit in Baileys Harbor, WI. Established in 1937, its mission has a focus of education, research, and land preservation. The Ridges now protects over 1,600 and is open year-round.