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Environmental Education Program Receives $20,000 Grant for New Supplies to Revamp and Expand Program

Sep 20, 2012

The Au Sable Institute Environmental Education Program has received a grant for over $20,000 to replace and revamp its scientific resources, costumes, and supplies.  The grant will allow Au Sable to refine and expand its nineteen Day, Residential, and In-class programs for students throughout Northwest Lower Michigan and interns participating in its environmental education internship program.

Environmental Education Program Coordinator Paul Wiemerslage says, “We are excited about the possibilities that these new supplies give us for delivering scientific, inquiry-based programs with the latest technologies for exploring the natural world.  These program supplies create tremendous opportunities for hands-on teaching and learning in the field.”

The grant will allow Au Sable to purchase supplies in five different areas: field supplies, such as collection nets, waders, GPS units, binoculars, secchi disks, and chemical test kits, to expand and execute scientific, inquiry-based programs; program aides, such as ethically procured furs and replica skulls, scat, and tracks of Northern Michigan wildlife, to bring the natural world to life in the classroom; Michigan History program costumes and aides to bring to life the early 1800s and 1900s in Michigan; outdoor teaching kits, including dry erase boards and markers, binoculars, and birdpods, for instructors to spend more time leading programs in the field; and reference library materials to train seasonal interns. Supplies in each of these areas will allow Au Sable to increase the amount of instruction time spent outdoors with students, create meaningful classroom opportunities for students to learn about environmental stewardship, improve intern training and resources, and accentuate the authenticity of the Michigan History program. 

Au Sable Executive Director Fred Van Dyke notes, “These improvements will help us achieve our goal of delivering exceptional environmental educational experiences that foster awareness, appreciation, and stewardship of the natural world to Michigan students.”

Says Wiemerslage, “I’m really pleased that we can purchase the best field resource guides and materials to equip our interns as they learn and grow through the internship program.  These materials give our interns the opportunity to increase their knowledge of field natural history and translate that knowledge for students by better learning and applying the pedagogy of environmental education.”