by Beth Etgen,
Urban Creeks Council Vice President, Education
With flowing water, wooded banks, and a variety of wildlife, local creeks are an ideal resource for learning through experiential environment-based education. Research and classroom-based studies show that students learn better, are better citizens at school, and transfer their learning to new situations better in environment-based education programs.
The Sacramento Chapter of Urban Creeks Council developed “Dipping Into Creeks” as an environment-based activity guide for educators that use community creeks as a “window on the world” to increase students’ understanding of our complex environment.
Creeks naturally attract children; they are just about the right size of water for easy exploration. “Dipping Into Creeks” is a fun, experiential resource guide packed with great activities designed to encourage educators of children in kindergarten through eighth grade to use creeks as classrooms. The activities in “Dipping Into Creeks” give the leader everything needed to prepare and guide a group of children to a local creek, from “Getting Ready in the Classroom” to “Planning For Action”. During the learning process, the children proceed from awareness of their local creek to knowledge of the importance of the creek habitat, to planning a specific task for creek improvement. The guide is $20 and is available from Urban Creeks Council.
Pulling together the equipment that is needed for a group to do activities at a creek site can be a time consuming job. Because of this, a kit of materials that can be used at a creek site is also available for loan. The kit includes aquatic life identification guides, dip nets, white trays, magnifying glasses, ph paper, clip boards and more, for a class of 30 students. To request a loan of a creek kit, please call the Arcade Creek Recreation and Park District office at (916) 482-8377.
Dipping Into Creeks” would make a wonderful addition to any elementary or middle school educator’s library as well as helping to support the Sacramento Chapter of Urban Creeks Council and their work to educate the community about the importance of urban creeks. Consider purchasing one for yourself, your child’s or grandchild’s teacher or for a local school. With the active participation of many individuals, we can help improve the quality of life for all Californians.
“Much of California’s economic prosperity has depended on how we have used our environment.
In the future it will depend on how we understand our environment.
In its broadest definition, our environment is the Now that joins our Past to our Future. Our environment links everyone and everything.”
– From Education & The Environment, Strategic Initiatives for Enhancing Education in California
This article originally appeared in our Fall 2005 Newsletter