SED “Nature and Me” Ecology Program Impacts Children in a Poland Middle School
Dr. Douglas Zook, an associate professor in SED’s Science Education program, has introduced the SED “Nature and Me – Explorations in Ecology” field-based curriculum to middle school children in Kraków, Poland.
During a sustainability lecture tour last year supported by the European Union, Dr. Zook shared the efforts of the “Nature and Me” program and his overall Global Ecology Education Initiative (GEEI) with distinguished botanist Professor Elzbieta Kuta of Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
The program, through generous support from Henry Meyer, Jr., helps children in low-income areas of metropolitan Boston have quality, value-building experiences in nature. The curriculum revolves around having the children adopt certain trees in the Arboretum followed by visits and investigations that promote the children to be more familiar and appreciative of their trees over time.
After speaking with Dr. Zook, Professor Kuta met with the teachers in the local middle school and shared many specifics of the program in their native Polish. This past June, Dr. Zook returned to Poland as part of an invited GEEI lecture tour and was able to visit the school, the Szkola Podstawowa Number 114 of Kraków. While there, he met many of the teachers and students that had benefited from the “Nature and Me” program. The students shared various poems they had written about their adopted trees over the months as well as sketches and journal stories. He accompanied the students to a nearby garden area to view some of the adopted trees.
While there, Dr. Zook also met with the teaching staff and principal, who are committed to continuing collaboration with GEEI around earth/nature literacy themes.