A Note From Erica Cox

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I wanted to let all of the Missouri Projects Facilitator Network know that I’ll be leaving MSU and my position as State Coordinator for Projects WET, WILD and Project Learning Tree at the end of July to return to another love of mine—classroom teaching! I’ve taken a position as a high school chemistry teacher at my local school and will enjoy working so close to home.

It was a difficult decision, mostly because I work with so many outstanding educators across Missouri! I appreciate your dedication to the Projects and to providing good quality environmental education to our fellow teachers, interpreters, and all other non-formal educators state-wide.

Please know that the Projects will continue! Janice Greene remains as the State Coordinator for Projects WILD and Learning Tree and will help out with Project WET until a new person is hired. If you are interested in the part-time Projects Coordinator position, please contact Janice at janicegreene@missouristate.edu

Getting Little Feet Wet

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Project WET has unveiled their newest addition to the curriculum.  Our partners have had very effective early childhood education curriculum and Project WET has a new program too.  Getting Little Feet Wet is the early childhood extension to the Project WET activity book.  This is geared towards young children (ages 3-6) and will help early childhood experts and educators introduce water love to young students. The activity book contains 11 interactive, hands-on activities for young learners to explore different aspects of water—from water properties to water sounds. Each activity offers both Pre-K and K-2 options and is correlated to respective educational standards.

We hope you spread the word about this exciting new program for water education.  You may check out more information about the material on the National Project WET website.

If any of you have taken our early childhood courses in Project Learning Tree or Growing Up WILD, you know that it is much fun and games.  We are very excited to bring these workshops to even more educators in Missouri.  We will be working on scheduling training for educators.  To our facilitators for Project WET workshops, we will most likely be hosting a separate training session for the early childhood workshops.  Stay tuned for updates and we’ll notify you when we have one on the calendar.


Great Getaway and Learning Experience

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2016 Regional Workshop

With the wrap-up of a busy 2016 for the Projects, we had a great break to connect with other facilitators from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri.  Arkansas hosted the Regional WET-PLT-WILD Workshop in Mountainburg, AR.  It was a beautiful location that suited to learn about bats, black bears, and deer populations.  We started at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center near Fort Smith Arkansas.  It’s a nice visitor center and you all should plan to visit.  They have great hiking trails and even several families were fishing the lake on premises.  At this site, we heard about Chronic Wasting Disease in deer populations.  All of us were given a great booklet with activities on how to teach about CWD and the prions that cause them.  It was a fantastic start to the workshop.

The rest of the workshop was hosted at the Lake Fort Smith State Park.  I highly recommend this park for a getaway too.  We covered various topics throughout the workshop including: black bear populations in Arkansas, bat populations in Arkansas and we got to try and mist-net for bats.  We were lucky and caught a red bat.  The last day we did some water quality monitoring and collected macroinvertebrates.  Thank you to the Arkansas crew for putting this event together!

This workshop is hosted every year and rotated from each state.  This year it was in Arkansas, 2017 will be in Oklahoma and 2018 will be back in Missouri.  You can participate in this too.  All you should do is lead a workshop, helped at an event for the Projects, or promoted the Projects in some way throughout the year and we’ll invite you to this Regional Workshop.  You can also count any presentation at a conference when you are using a Projects activity as part of your presentation. It is a great opportunity to learn new knowledge that we all pass on through our teaching experiences.

Post by Tammy Trantham, Projects Assistant

Annual Project WET Coordinator’s Conference

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It’s now been six weeks since the Annual Project WET Coordinator’s Conference in Greenville, South Carolina and we had a great time, along with great food and hospitality in South Carolina. 🙂

I wanted to let you know some updates in the Project WET world that may influence facilitators and workshop participants too—our correlations to the Next Generation Science Standards, our Early Childhood Project WET activity guide, and a new CD of WET songs, produced by our NJ Project WET Coordinator.

I’m the chair of our Standards committee and we are currently in the Review phase of our Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) correlations project. Basically, we conducted a third party review (thanks, Betsy O’Day!) that revealed what WET Coordinators had been suspecting—the NGSS matches on our web portal could use some improvement. The Project WET Foundation office paid three correlators, who are very familiar with Project WET activities, the NGSS and correlating standards, to correlate all Project WET activities. That part of the project is now complete and Review teams of teachers and educators from across the U.S. are now in the final phases of review. The project concludes on October 31, 2016, with an anticipated availability for NGSS correlations on the web portal by the end of 2016/beginning of 2017. I’ll share more as they are available and also will be working on standards correlations to go with our newly adopted Missouri Lwater-we-singing-aboutearning Standards (April 2016), once the NGSS project concludes.

At the conference in August, our Early Childhood Project WET Activity Guide Draft, called Getting Little Feet WET was unveiled. We enjoyed a speaker, now a professor of science education and former North Carolina WET Coordinator, who explained the difference in working with young children and early learners. As in any good WET workshop, we experienced a couple of the activities and began thinking about how to market and train facilitators to work with Early Childhood educators. This publication is currently in the field test phase and early childhood teachers from Missouri were invited to participate.

Finally, Kevin Kopp, NJ Project WET Coordinator, is a musician who has put together some of his favorite songs that correspond with WET activities, entitled Water We Singing About? His CD and download are now available for purchase, if anyone is interested. I encourage you to take a look and listen at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/kevinkopp.



Introducing Project WET, Flying WILD and Project Learning Tree Assistant, Tammy Trantham!

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The Projects Family is growing! We are pleased to announce that Tammy Trantham has joined us in providing Project WET, Flying WILD and Project Learning Tree workshops and resources for Missouri educators.

Many of you in the Southwest Missouri part of our state already know Tammy, but we wanted to introduce her to everyone else too.

Tammy has been an avid supporter of outdoor education for several years. As a young child, she grew up on a dairy farm with a creek running through it. There were always good days when Tammy came back to the house all wet and muddy, much to her mother’s dismay. She realized her love for the outdoors at a very young age and thanks her family for that.

Tammy attended Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. While in La Crosse, she worked for the Upper Mississippi Environmental Services Center under USGS. This experience gained her insight into the top-notch research on the Upper Mississippi River.

After earning her undergraduate degree, Tammy moved to Springfield, Missouri to attend Missouri State University (MSU). At MSU, she worked towards her Masters of Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Biology. She researched aquatic food webs on Table Rock Lake using fatty acids in algae and zooplankton.

After completing her masters, she worked for Table Rock Lake Water Quality as their Environmental Educator. Tammy took water education to classrooms, festivals, and any outdoor event she could find. She became a certified Project WET, WILD, and PLT facilitator.

Tammy is also the Executive Director of Missouri Smallflows Organization which provides educational programs to onsite wastewater professionals. Recently, she became the Co-Director of the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE). This week-long camp exposes young high school adults to professionals that know the Ozarks ecosystems and they complete a habitat restoration project. Tammy describes GLADE as one of the best youth nature camps she’s ever been a part of.

Now, Tammy is honored to take a larger role with Project WET, WILD and PLT. She looks forward to meeting more educators around the state. She truly believes that our education efforts are helping make informed citizens of the future.

Tammy will be helping to provide materials and resources for the Projects, provide Projects workshop offerings and help to support more education efforts in our area. Erica also provides storm water education programs and assistance to Springfield and Greene County teachers and Tammy will be assisting in these efforts too.

We are so happy to have Tammy join us! Please welcome her to the team!

Happy Retirement to Joe Pitts

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Joe for Resource Honor Roll 05

It is with great appreciation that we recognize the accomplishments of Joe Pitts. Although he has worn many hats in education and in the world of water, he is best known to Project WET as the first State Coordinator for Missouri Project WET. Before his days with Project WET, Joe taught high school biology at Houston, Missouri and had worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for a number of years. Joe worked on the original Project WET Activity Guide and brought the program to Missouri and to DNR in 1995. Missouri Project WET flourished under his leadership and many Missouri teachers and educators are thankful for Joe’s workshops over the years.

At the national Project WET level, Joe served on the Coordinator’s Council for many years and represented the Project WET Foundation in 2000 in Melbourne, Australia as part of the 10th World Water Congress.

Joe still facilitates WET workshops when he can and we are always glad to have his expertise. He just facilitated a Project WET workshop at the Interface Math and Science Teachers’ conference at the end of February and that makes his….hmmmm…60th? workshop. Let’s just say that Joe has done countless Project WET workshops in Missouri and we thank him for every one! Happy retirement, Joe!