North Fork John Day Watershed Council Awarded Grant For Education

Published January 5th, 2015 in Blog, What's Happening? | Comments Off on North Fork John Day Watershed Council Awarded Grant For Education

The North Fork John Day Watershed Council  was awarded a grant from The Oregon Community Foundation, which includes the Shelk Fund, to support their Blue Mountain Field Institute (BMFI).  This education branch of the NFJDWC enhances traditional academic programing with field studies, research and career shadowing for high school and college students.  The Blue Mountain Field Institute was initiated in the 2013-2014 school year and provided weekly programming in Long Creek Schools with outstanding success.  Students participated in stewardship projects involving constructing an eight-foot tall fence to protect an over browsed aspen stand; planting riparian vegetation to help restore an erodible section of Fox Creek where habitat restoration had taken place; planting grass seed to prevent invasive weed encroachment in areas where juniper had been eradicated; maintaining an interpretive trail at Bridge Creek Wildlife Area; and installing a blue bird trail.   In addition they attended a forest collaborative meeting and cleaned up several miles along the Willamette River. Each of these projects led to further interpretive learning and application of science, math, social and life skills.

For the 2014-2015 academic school year, the Watershed Council is committed to expanding educational opportunities throughout the Blue Mountains. So far this year, Grant Union High School and Long Creek have participated in curriculum offered by BMFI.  Activities have included programs on Forest Health/Wet Meadows and Prescribed Fire on the Landscape. The Blue Mountain Field Institute is designing additional projects to engage students in integrated “hands-and-minds” opportunities. As the Institute reaches out to a broader geographic selection of students, it will rotate projects around the region.  Projects are being identified near John Day, Dayville, Long Creek, Ukiah and Pendleton areas.  To assure availability of projects throughout the region, the NFJDWC partners with other state, federal and local organizations, assuring interaction for students with professional personnel from a variety of businesses and agencies. So far this year BMFI has partnered with professionals from the Malheur and Umatilla National Forests and, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Desolation Creek, LLC, and The Pacific Northwest Center for Holistic Management.

The projects are designed to provide students with an introduction to real-world skills, critical teamwork and project planning.  Every project integrates science, math, literature, or art into the field project.  Each project will meet an identified Oregon Environmental Literacy Standard and/or Oregon Content Standards.  A curriculum prepared by the NFJDWC will be available to teachers seeking classroom integration.  The students will meet and interact with local landowners and natural resource professionals, and gain a greater appreciation for the extraordinary ecosystem in which they live.

The program is open to all high school aged students. Teens not in school or who home school are very welcome and are encouraged to participate. If interested please call Gail Beverlin, the Education Coordinator at The North Fork John Day Watershed Council at 541-421-3018.




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