Wild Basin 3M Eco-Field Day Joins St. Edward's University and Del Valle High School Students for Research Project
Thirteen St. Edward’s University School of Education seniors in Associate Professor Steven Fletcher’s Curriculum and Evaluation course participated in Project SUSTAIN: Connecting Teachers and Secondary Students to the Environment, on Friday, April 26, at the Wild Basin Creative Research Center.
The 13 St. Edward’s seniors were enrolled in a field-based teacher preparation block that met weekly at Del Valle High School for the 2013 spring semester. Students were preparing to teach in various areas including: Art, Biology, English/Language Arts, History, Kinesiology, and Mathematics. The semester-long project preparation led up to the Wild Basin 3M Eco-Field Day, which sent 34 HIGH school students and four mentor teachers from Del Valle High School to join students from St. Edward’s for the day-long project.
Project SUSTAIN was made possible by a $20,000 grant from the 3M Foundation and with the encouragement of 3M-Austin. The program connects STEM education with nature by engaging undergraduates in the St. Edward’s School of Education to develop and implement Problem-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum around real-world environmental sustainability and stewardship issues for secondary students (grades 6 to 12). The PBL units and kits produced by the St. Edward’s students will be made available online for teachers to use when visiting Wild Basin.
The program participants circulated in small groups together to explore six different lessons related to sustainability. After each rotation, students were given time to reflect how they can individually contribute to the sustainability in that area.
Those who participated in the art activity created sustainable art through working with natural materials as their medium. They applied technology by capturing work on iPad cameras and then manipulating it using the Tilt Shift Gen app.
Students who participated in the English and Language Arts activity sat quietly journaling in nature. They created a clay egg filled with native Texas wildflower seeds on which they inscribed text from their writing. This was a piece to take home as a memory of their thoughts.
Those who participated in the Science activity explored land use in history by tracing the boundaries of a trash-dumping site at Wild Basin. Through this practice, students learned about waste issues and brainstormed solutions to potential waste issues in the Del Valle community.
Students who participated in the Math activity compared land values per acre between Wild Basin and Del Valle. Students utilized tape measures to help them visualize how large an acre really is.
Others who participated in the Physical Education activity connected mind, body and spirit with a trust walk, short hike, meditation time, and reflection on the natural beauty of Wild Basin. The goal was to heighten their senses in an attempt to hear or see the endangered yellow cheeked warbler, which nests exclusively in Texas.
The History activity allowed students to evaluate the relationship between humans and the environment by comparing primary documents and topographical and historical maps with future land use plans for Del Valle.