Project Wild Thing

West Marion Elementary School

Contact:  Renata Sabine Crawley
Teacher
Marion, NC
renata.crawley@mcdowell.k12.nc.us

Project: Project Wild Thing

Project Wild Thing is a program that teaches children about the environment through engaging, hands-on, inquiry based lessons through the use of community gardens, nature trails, butterfly gardens, and forests. Students who have attended after school science clubs at West Marion have experienced great success. Statistics show that the average child only spends a few minutes outdoors, as compared to numerous hours inside playing games and watching television. We are changing this data with each child we reach through after school science clubs. Our new program involves not only West Marion, but all elementary schools in our district. We want children to be outside, learning about the Blue Ridge Mountains, the ecosystem of the deciduous forest, and the rivers running wild. We want students taking on the role of field scientists through the implementation of STC science kits. We want to show how communities can come together through outreach and hard work of community gardens. We want to children to envision themselves as future scientists and learn steps to be successful in college.

Children have the opportunity to work with professional scientists in clubs, specifically the engineering club. Students learn civil engineering and guidelines to build a truss bridge. In addition to our new program, students also have the opportunity to attend a summer camp for after school club students titled, "One Hike at a Time". Club students go on adventurous hiking trails to learn orienteering skills, conduct water quality testing in the Linville River, and understand the interactions between plants and animals in a mountainous forest. Students spend two days outside taking classes led by rangers at Tuttle Educational State Park and Crossnore Forestry Training Facility.

Our world is a mystery to be unraveled and solved. What solves questions in our world is allowing kids to move, explore, manipulate and have discussions through cooperative learning. Our program may one day produce a scientist who finds a cure for diabetes, cancer, or AIDS. As a famous quote states, "Always do your best. What you plant now, you harvest later." We are ready to plant our seeds.