GODFREY — Patricia (Patti) Brown of The Nature Institute, located at 2213 South Levis Lane, received the honor as one of seven educators in the state of Illinois certified to teach workshops on Aquatic WILD and Project WILD. These workshops are catered to a variety of educators, both formal and non-formal.
Created by the Council for Environmental Education, Aquatic WILD and Project WILD offer activities for nature and provide a hands-on, in depth approach to teaching.
In times where environmental education may take the back seat, these activity guides offer common core and next generation science standards for teaching with a service learning component combining experiential learning and community service.
Aquatic WILD and Project WILD offer additional motivation for educators to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics by taking standards in education and state-required textbooks for schools and bringing them to life with information, tools and activities for the classroom. These guides are also sponsored by highly accredited organizations, for example the Audubon Society, Oregon State University, National History Society and National Fish and Wildlife.
“It has been 10 years since our state offered these workshops,” Brown said. “I’m humbled to be certified to teach these tools to fellow educators.”
She praised the help she had received from them personally.
“I am a biologist,” Brown said. “I do monitoring and look for results. When I came to work for The Nature Institute, I knew nothing about Illinois prairies. These activity guides helped me become a better environmental educator.”
Brown will be hosting four workshops through March at The Nature Institute to assist educators with their classroom plans. The first workshop of 2015 is Project Learning Tree Environmental Experiences in Early Childhood from 9 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Feb. 21.
Admission is $30, which includes training, snacks and resources. This training also fulfills the need for Continuing Education Units, which allows professionals to maintain their teaching certificates. The Illinois State Board of Education only makes CEU available through qualified teaching education facilities like The Nature Institute.
The Nature Institute has been inviting teachers out to workshops for more than 20 years. Since she became education director of The Nature Institute in 2002, Brown has been hosting roughly four educator workshops per year.
These workshops are open to all types of educators and hold no state boundaries. In June, she will host a workshop in Missouri because she is the closest certified facilitator available.
“Our mission at The Nature Institute is to get people outdoors, but to also learn about our connection with nature,” Brown said. “TNI has much more than aesthetic value.
“For every action, there is a reaction. Our goal is to inspire everyone to leave the land better than the way they found it.”
For information, visit www.TheNatureInstitute.org or call (618) 466-9930.