Indian River School District chosen 2008 Wetland Warriors
The Indian River School District has received the 2008 Wetland Warriors Award, a new award from DNREC to be presented annually by Delaware's governor to a citizen, organization, business or other group that has demonstrated exemplary efforts to benefit wetlands in the areas of outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, or restoration and protection.
In 1998, the Indian River School District established its Outdoor Educational Center on its 180-acre parcel that borders state-owned Ingrams Pond in Millsboro, with the goal of providing its students with a natural environment to explore science and developing activities that support state standards and complement traditional classroom instruction.
Today, seventh graders canoe the pond to evaluate water quality and eighth graders wade in its stream to study algae, clams and muskrats, while younger children study pond, field and forest ecosystems in this unique outdoor classroom. Older students have banded live birds. Each year, more than 5,000 students visit the center or receive instruction from its staff.
“I wish more districts had something like this to enhance their programs,” said Environmental Scientist Amy Jacobs, team leader of the DNREC Wetlands Team and DNREC's own employee of the year for 2008. “This unique setting allows the District’s students to have direct, personal contact with our wetlands – and it’s an exciting experience they can carry back to the classroom and beyond into their lives,” she added.
Ms. Jacobs presented the center with a certificate and a “MacPac Backpack,” a monitoring kit assembled by the Wetlands Team that includes a 24-page illustrated “critter guide,” a hand-held microscope, a dip net and other equipment designed to help fifth graders find and identify invertebrates. Accepting on behalf of the District was Center Coordinator Doug McIlvaine, who also serves as team leader for the District’s Adopt-A-Wetland group.
Photo by Jenny Garey