Educators see green during PDCCC science course

Published 7:51 am Friday, July 31, 2009

“Leaves of three; let them be,” may be a general rule to remember when avoiding poison ivy. However, participants in the Educators’ Environmental Institute at Paul D. Camp Community College delved deeper into their surroundings during the three-week undergraduate science course funded by International Paper.

The class is designed to locally explore the interrelationships of man and his environment, according to PDCCC assistant professor of biology John Patterson. Teachers incorporate the newfound knowledge into their curricula.

The group studied a range of topics, including forest management and wood production; papermaking; solid waste disposal and recycling; water and sewage treatment; and coastal, forest, swamp and marsh ecology.

“Based on the new Teacher Recertification Guidelines for Virginia, this course should fulfill the certification needs of all teachers with a Master’s degree at any grade level, all elementary school teachers, and all teachers who have a certification in science,” said Patterson.

Acceptance of the course for recertification is determined by the school division or headmasters.

For Willie Schools, a fifth-grade math teacher at Riverdale Elementary, it was her second EEI experience.

“I really enjoyed incorporating some of the lessons in my class,” she said. “And now it’s time to recertify.”

This year, Schools wants to incorporate fractions and decimals into an activity about bears and the effects that resources have on them.

Dixon Morrow, an art teacher at Hardy Elementary (K-3), was eager to execute his idea in his classroom.

After providing his students with environmental information, he said they will be able to create a hero that has a power that pertains to the environment based on an issue that he presents.

“We learned about things that we take for granted,” he said about the Institute. “It’s nice to discover the details about everything around us that, before, we never knew.”

Pat Crump, a special education teacher at J.P. King Jr. Middle School, works with her students in all areas of study.

“Science is something in which I felt I needed more work,” she said.

Crump said she would be able to use what she learned in more hands-on activities for her students, and obtained good resources.

Windsor High School math and science teacher Cindy Joy said, “I’m looking at doing a project on green technology for alternative energy sources.”

She also noted that the Institute has provided invaluable interaction with teachers at Windsor High and other schools.

Others participants in the EEI were Kim Wagner, Crystal Hunt and Angelita Mendoza, all of Suffolk, Carolyn Gale of Smithfield, Freling Wallenbeck II of Carrsville, Linda Frilles of Windsor, Gracie Taylor of Franklin, Kara Hudspeth of Windsor, Frances and Russell Bouton, Faye Howell and Jim Upton, all of Suffolk, William Parker of Poquoson, Jamie Curran of Suffolk, Linda Trier of Ivor and Frank Adams Jr. of Smithfield.

Patterson has been teaching the EEI for 14 years. The course is a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on activity through field trips. For more information on next year’s Institute, contact Patterson, 925-6338.