Mary Goodyear: (603) 419-0256
Judy Silverberg: (603) 271-3211
December 26, 2006
One Million Educators Gone WILD!
CONCORD, N.H. -- State coordinators and supporters of Project WILD, a supplementary education curriculum targeting K-12 students, are celebrating the milestone reached in 2006 of having trained one million educators nationwide. Each classroom teacher or non-formal educator reaches an average of 53 students annually with Project WILD materials. Overall, an estimated 53 million students have benefited from the Project WILD curriculum nationwide since it was first introduced in 1983.
In New Hampshire, Project WILD is sponsored by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. It was first introduced in 1985, and since that time, more than 3,500 New Hampshire educators have been trained to use Project WILD resources, reaching approximately 63,000 students annually statewide. Project WILD continues to grow in New Hampshire, as trainings are now being offered as part of pre-service teacher education courses at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University and Rivier College. As a result, new teachers are entering classrooms for the first time already trained to incorporate Project WILD activities in their curricula.
"Project WILD is popular with teachers for its content and ease of use," said New Hampshire Project WILD Coordinator Mary Goodyear, a Fish and Game wildlife educator. "An important element is that Project WILD activities are designed to teach students how to think, rather than what to think, which is key to inquiry-based learning -- a major premise of the No Child Left Behind federal education initiative."
Another plus is that Project WILD activities are inter-disciplinary. They can be used not only in science classes, but integrated into math, art, language and social studies classes as well. To make Project WILD easier for teachers to use and incorporate into their curricula, the activities have been aligned to support New Hampshire's new state science frameworks. In addition, said Goodyear, "One of the greatest things about Project WILD is that it builds on the fact that both students and teachers are naturally intrigued by wildlife. Using wildlife as a foundation for teaching basic science and conservation concepts really catches and holds their interest."
There are currently 22 trained Project WILD facilitators in New Hampshire who provide teacher training. These facilitators are educators who have had additional Project WILD training, provided by Fish and Game, which enables them to train others to use the WILD materials. "Their long-term commitment, loyalty to, and enthusiasm for Project WILD has truly been a key element to its success in New Hampshire," said Goodyear.
Working cooperatively with the state coordinators of Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) and Project Learning Tree (tree and forest education), Project WILD has enabled the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to reach still more educators. Joint workshops are offered, making it easier for teachers to become trained to use the materials of all three projects. The Project WEB newsletter, co-edited by all three coordinators and produced by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, is sent to all workshop participants three times each year.
"Project WILD is an integral part of the conservation education efforts here in the state. It is a way to connect teachers, classrooms and students to wildlife," said Judy Silverberg, Wildlife Education Supervisor for Fish and Game. "Project WILD is one of the cornerstones of Fish and Game's overall education programs, which open the way to building future conservation stewards for New Hampshire."
For more information on Project WILD, click here, or call Coordinator Mary Goodyear at (603) 419-0256.
The next step for teachers who use Project WILD in the classroom is to become involved in Project HOME. Developed by N.H. Fish and Game wildlife educator, Marilyn Wyzga, HOME leads teachers, students and their community through the educational process of enhancing schoolyard habitats for wildlife. Project HOME activities involve students in every phase of the project and offer suggestions as to ways that the effort can be incorporated into the overall school curriculum.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department conserves, manages and protects the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Part of Fish and Game's mission is to inform and educate the public about these resources.
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