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Environmental organizations collaborate for Great Lakes education

by jmaloni
Tue, Sep 27th 2011 02:20 pm

 $169,000 check presentation, educational demonstration and photo op on Wednesday

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, the Buffalo Urban Outdoor Education Foundation, Buffalo Audubon Society and Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve Inc. will collaborate to educate teachers about Great Lakes water, wildlife and management issues.

Join them us this Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 8:45 a.m. canalside at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf (by the Spirit of Buffalo), for a brief check presentation, a shipboard environmental education demonstration with Southside Elementary School students and a group photo with students and partners.

Parking is available along the cobblestone streets and along Erie Street.

Receipt of a $168,895 federal grant to provide teachers with content and methods for educating students about the Great Lakes in Western New York was announced last week. The two-year grant provides funding to train more than 300 teachers through five-day Great Lakes academies, held during the summer, and one-day "Get WET for the Great Lakes" institutes spaced throughout the year. 

Educators will explore an entire watershed, the area of land that drains into a particular waterbody such as the Buffalo River. Buffalo Audubon Society's Beaver Meadow Audubon Center will educate teachers about watershed boundaries, water flow, land use and geology.   

"Teaching educators about our natural resources is a high priority for DEC," said Laurel Remus, director of DEC's division of public affairs and education. "We are especially enthusiastic about this collaborative effort, because it will not only provide teachers with access to high quality instructional materials, but it will improve their ability to implement those lessons in the classroom." 

Following each educator training session, BUOE and Friends of Reinstein will work with teachers to implement lessons in their classrooms and help teachers engage their students in a stewardship project that improves water quality in their local community or watershed.

"We are grateful to U.S. EPA and Riverkeeper for the new opportunities this grant affords," said Friends of Reinstein President Terry Boyle. "By engaging students in stream cleanups, education campaigns, and invasive species removal, this project will empower students and teachers to play a role in protecting our freshwater resources."

Following each educator training session, BUOE and Friends of Reinstein will work with teachers to implement lessons in their classrooms and help teachers engage their students in a stewardship project that improves water quality in their local community or watershed.

The grant is one of 70 grants totaling nearly $30 million that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2011. Funded projects will advance the goals and objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan, which EPA released in cooperation with 15 other participating agencies and several Great Lakes governors in February 2010.    

Learn more at bnriverkeeper.org. Riverkeeper is a member of the global Waterkeeper Alliance.

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