One of nine projects funded by NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program, the new Brockton Kids Lead the Way initiative aims to foster city students’ connection to nature.
BROCKTON, MA — This fall, Manomet, Wildlands Trust, and Brockton Public Schools will launch Brockton Kids Lead the Way, an ambitious education initiative designed to boost climate resilience and environmental stewardship in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts.
This work is made possible thanks to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Environmental Literacy Program and is one of nine projects chosen to receive funding to advance climate resilience through education in the U.S. this year.
Manomet and its partners will use the funding to design and build outdoor learning spaces in collaboration with teachers at three elementary schools in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts, home to a diverse, urban community. Once the learning spaces are built, students at participating schools will receive a year of outdoor education programming. They will also participate in environmental monitoring at their school, contributing to community science at a local level and fostering a connection to the natural world.
“This program is about helping students feel connected to the outdoors and empowered to take action as environmental stewards in their own communities,” says Molly Jacobs, vice president of environmental education and outreach at Manomet. “And it’s also about long-term support for Brockton schools and teachers. We look forward to using NOAA funds to improve environmental and climate literacy in Brockton through these new outdoor learning spaces and programming.”
Teachers will receive resources and materials to support use of the outdoor learning spaces long after the program concludes. At the end of the academic year, Brockton Kids Lead the Way will culminate with an outdoor learning celebration at each school, where parents and community members will be invited to visit the space and learn about students’ work.
Manthala George Jr. Global Studies Elementary School will be the first school to participate in the program.
“We are excited for this partnership to bring a new outdoor learning space to over 800 students at the George School,” says Natalie L. Pohl, principal of Manthala George Jr. Global Studies Elementary School. “Outdoor learning gives students the ability to apply concepts learned inside the classroom to the real world. Especially in this digital era, it is important for students to be able to engage with the environment firsthand to better understand the natural world and develop a deeper respect for their environment.”
With its expertise in providing better access to nature, Wildlands Trust will lead the installation of the outdoor learning spaces developed through the program. Wildlands Trust and Manomet are also collaborating on a community-driven project to revitalize D.W. Field Park, an urban greenspace managed by the City of Brockton’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
“Wildlands Trust has been working with government, neighborhood associations, schools, and youth services groups in Brockton for the past decade,” says Karen Grey, president and executive director of Wildlands Trust. “We are really excited to be a partner in this innovative initiative that will bring financial resources to the city schools while providing meaningful opportunities for kids to connect with nature.”
Partners at Sea Grant, a federal/university partnership between NOAA and 34 university-based programs across the U.S., will lead a climate resilience workshop for teachers and project staff each summer while TERC, a research-based education nonprofit, will evaluate the program’s overall effectiveness.
“This program looks at the bigger picture and sets teachers and their students up for success for the long haul,” adds Jacobs. “Instead of just providing educational programs and reaching one set of students in one year, we’re investing in outdoor learning and environmental education. This amplifies our impact to reach a whole generation and creates climate resilience in Brockton for years to come.”
Senior Manager, Communications, Manomet
Manomet (www.manomet.org) is a 501(c)(3) organization that empowers stakeholders through science and works with partners to make a world where ecosystems and human communities thrive. Since Manomet’s beginnings as a bird banding operation in 1969, its science and research have expanded to focus on ecosystem management and resilience, shorebird conservation, and educating tomorrow’s leaders about the importance of the natural world. Diversity, science, and climate change are the fundamental principles driving Manomet’s work today.
ABOUT WILDLANDS TRUST
Wildlands Trust (www.wildlandstrust.org) works throughout Southeastern Massachusetts to permanently protect native habitats, farmland, and lands of high ecologic and scenic value that serve to keep communities healthy and residents connected to the natural world. Founded in 1973, Wildlands Trust is one of the largest and oldest regional land trusts in Massachusetts and has helped to ensure the protection of 8,500 acres of natural and agricultural lands. Wildlands Trust approaches its work with respect for the cultures and perspectives of the communities it serves to connect and inspire all people to care about the natural world and the future of our planet.
ABOUT BROCKTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The Brockton Public School District (www.bpsma.org) is committed to ensuring the success of its more than 15,000 students by fulfilling the educational, social, and emotional needs of all students in the pursuit of instructional excellence.