I teach an integrated, Environmental Studies and Statistics course to seniors at a project based school in Albuquerque. I just finished one of the most ambitious projects of my career. Here is a step by step guide.
Start with a couple of guiding principles: (1) Projects are most authentic when the work of the project is the work of the World. (2) Acting locally is one of the best ways to reinforce environmental agency.
A year and a half previous, go to a workshop for teachers at the Rio Grande Nature Center, about teaching the natural history of the Rio Grande Valley. Meet Jennifer Owen White, an employee of the US Fish And Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Refuge Manager of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. Decide, after subsequent conversations with Jennifer, that a project working the the Valle could be a great thing, and that it could afford an opportunity to Go Big.
A year previous (circa Sept 2013), with the help of Jennifer, run a project with the nex+Gen seniors in Environmental Science to take baseline data around biodiversity, observe wildlife for Nature’s Notebook, and consult on the conceptual design for the Valle de Oro. Later in the project, get news of the 2013 Gov’t shutdown, and concomitant denial of access to the refuge. Abandon project.
Find out what happens next on Kevin’s Blog: Intrepid Ed