Zakiya Jackson and Diana Koss of Ralph J. Bunche Preparatory Academy and Theresa Clayton of Mark Twain School for Scholars are three Detroit Public Schools’ teachers who participated in the “Urban Forestry Teacher Institute” on Belle Isle June 23-27, 2014.
The event was coordinated by Michigan Technological University’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.
Through readings, presentations, field trips, data collection and classroom activities, teachers gained new knowledge and outdoor teaching skills that can be incorporated into their science, social studies or math curriculum. They learned tree ID, forest measurements, forest health, disease and insect pests, forest soils, carbon sequestration, best management practices and sustainable forest management.
“The Urban Forest Stewardship Teacher Institute at Belle Isle in Detroit was dynamic,” Jackson said. “The entire week was jam-packed with information, resources and exciting lessons from experts in the fields of forestry, nature and environmental science. The collaboration with colleagues from across the state of Michigan was a wonderful addition. I look forward to implementing hands-on lessons and investigations for my students during the 2014-2015 school year on trees, birds and insects. My love for nature and wildlife has been ignited! It is my goal to inspire a sense of caring and stewardship in my students so that we can do our part in promoting the health of Michigan forests and the plants and animals that live there.”
Koss agreed. “This teacher institute has made me a much more informed teacher. I have learned so much information and participated in activities that have broadened my educational horizons. I never thought I would get into a kayak and enjoy it! I want to share these experiences with my students and have them participate in new hands-on educational experiences. I feel much more confident in my ability to impart this valuable information to them. Forests are amazing!”
“The Belle Isle Urban Forestry Teacher Institute was the best learning experience I have had this year!” Clayton said. “The hands-on learning activities were great. I can utilize the educational concepts we explored to enhance cross-curricular lessons for my students. The Project Learning Tree materials are very user-friendly and will help me educate students for many years to come.”
The institute was partially funded by grants from the US Forest Service and the Michigan Forest Association.