At its recent annual meeting Citizens for Conservation gave its highest award, the William H. Miller Conservation Award, to Barrington School District 220.
This award is presented annually to an individual, group or organization that has shown outstanding conservation efforts within the Barrington community. CFC honored the elementary grades' science curriculum that engages students as citizens scientists, raises awareness of conservation and restoration efforts, and connects students to the natural communities in which they live.
Representing the district in receiving the award were Dr. Jeff Arnett, District 220 chief communications officer; Dr. Becky Gill-Schultz, District 220 director of elementary curriculum; Dr. Anne Grall-Reichel, the educational researcher who helped develop the program; Sharon Kranz, District 220 instructional coach and former fourth-grade teacher from Roslyn Road School; Keira King, current fourth-grader at Hough School; Owen King, current third-grader at Hough; and Katie King, parent of Keira and Owen.
The award was presented to Barrington District 220 in recognition of the exemplary elementary science curriculum and experiences for students who are the future environmental stewards. The curriculum furthers students' knowledge of our natural world as well as the human impact on habitats and our environment. Goals include engaging students in collecting authentic data as well as analysis on concepts they have studied in the classroom, while acting as environmental stewards and reconnecting with nature.
First-grade students begin with a hands-on study of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. They travel to Stillman Nature Center in the spring to collect and observe aquatic and woodland organisms.
Second-grade students study both complete and incomplete metamorphosis in life cycles of insects by observing insects and analyzing insect populations at Stillman Nature Center in the fall.
Third-grade students study prairie ecosystem, learning about prairie plant growth and development at Citizens for Conservation's Grigsby Prairie with The Nature Ladies. They learn to identify specific plants, create scientific drawings of plants, and analyze plant uses and adaptations to prairie life.
Fourth-grade students expand on their third grade study of plants and prairies by becoming "citizen scientists." They collect seeds and authentic data that is analyzed to see the effects of drought and flooding. Citizens for Conservation provides volunteers for this program at various prairies owned by Citizens for Conservation and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
Fifth-grade students participate in a three day outdoor education experience at Camp Timberlee in Wisconsin.
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