Friday, August 28, 2015

Naturalist Study: Enlisting the Support of Community Members

This is one of the large-sized maps that the cartographer
made for us. It depicts the natural lands and paths
near our school. 
This morning I'm going to meet with a local naturalist. Many have pointed me in her direction since she has spent many, many years learning about, advocating, and caring for the lands in the community where I teach.

Over the years I've worked with colleagues to learn about the community lands and share that information with students, but I want to go deeper, and I know it is important to get the perspective from those in the community who have truly invested in this work.

What questions will I ask during this meeting? What do I hope to learn?

My overarching question for this dedicated individual is what do you think is most important as I try to nurture, teach, and lead young naturalists?

Then I'll ask the following questions:
  • Why and how did you become such a dedicated and committed naturalist?
  • What is most important to study with regard to the natural environment in the school community?
  • What are the pressing problems?
  • What tools, equipments, and clothing aid this study?
  • What do you suggest for me as I continue my study and work in this regard?
In a similar regard, I contacted the Town Conservation and Surveyor offices recently. The Conservation Department led me to this renown community naturalist, and the surveyor's office created a large number of wonderful maps for the students and me to use during our study. Furthermore, the cartographer in the surveyor's office agreed to come in and speak to our students this year about what it means to be a cartographer.

To prepare students for stewardship of their natural lands, it's important to reach out to members of the community who dedicate their time and attention to these matters. There's a wealth of knowledge in the community surrounding your school, and by reaching out, you better prepare your students for their work and commitments in the future.