Professor Douglas Zook led The Nature and Me Project workshop at the Arnold Arboretum for nine Boston teachers, grades 4 – 6. The Nature and Me Project is privately funded by Henry Meyer, Jr. Directed by Zook, the project aims to help children in low-income urban settings to closely connect with trees and foster a lifelong caring about nature.
The workshop consisted of nearly thirty hours, many of which were in the field of the historic sanctuary in Jamaica Plain operated by Harvard University. The goal of the workshop was to allow the teachers to become comfortable with the explorations from the Nature and Me curriculum. This will help the teachers better engage students in the classroom and during later visits to the Arboretum in different seasons. The teachers also received Nature and Me resource kits including pocket microviewers, plant press materials, and tools which the teachers will be able to provide to their groups of young explorers.
Zook led the workshop with his former MAT graduate student, Lia Stelljes, and recent MAT biology education graduate Jennifer MacDonald. Boston University students, Alivia Ashenfarb and Annie Lissandrello also assisted during the workshop. The two students will make periodic visits to some of the schools involved in the Nature and Me Program during the Fall to assist in implementing the hands-on discovery activities.