27 Jul Our outreach team
We’ve seen a couple of our programs provided to the summer reading programs in schools and recreational centers around Saint Johns County. Before COVID these programs would come to the rangers at the Fort. Now, we have adopted our programs and we reach out to every rec center and summer reading programs to provide these kids with the opportunity to see first hand what the National Parks Service is doing. Many of the children didn’t know who we were, dressed in uniform with a shiny badge. Many believed we were a part of the police department. Once first contacts with the children were made and an understanding of who we are and what are jobs are were established, we were then able to see the faces of the children light up as we explained the activities we had planned for them today during our visit. Our team of three interns paired with a teacher ranger created not only a safe learning environment but also an environment where the kids can interact, ask questions, and become interested in our parks. Our goal isn’t to market the national parks but to teach the kids about the national parks and help guide them through a different learning process. With two pathways interns, we created a wildlife touch table with animal furs along with binoculars and different pictures of birds in order to teach the class about how Fort Matanzas is a part of the Florida birding trail with over 200+ species of birds to see on our grounds with also the different endangered species including Least terns and horseshoe crabs. With the animals fur, we were able to allow the kids to see first hand how camouflage works by relating it to playing hide and seek. With binoculars we were able to show kids that you don’t have to put yourself in harms way to see wildlife up close and with an owl table, we allowed the class to dissect their own pellet to show them first hand what an owl eats. We saw sparks in their eyes as they found skulls and different bones from different animals.
Our team of three made sure every child had the chance to ask questions and reach out to us to get them interested in science and biology by showing them the wild a little closer than on a screen. When our team of interns are not at schools, we work in the fort with rove kits with activities to make animal prints, spot birds in the courtyards and show the ones who are new to fishing how to cast a push button spinning reel. We love getting the chance to reach the youth in Saint Johns county and we loved seeing everyone included in our projects. As a team, we worked together and adopted our plans to cater to each and every student at every school we visited. Our supervisor has granted us the ability and materials to have the best summer for every student. Our group strived to make each experiance and program better than the previous. We worked together and made sure we got every vocabulary word for the kids in what they are learning in thier classes.
The teachers and volunteers at the schools asked many questions to our boss and our team if we have any school programs that we do during the year. Many of the teachers wanted our exact team to come in again for different grade levels in order to reach and teach more students than just the summer schools and recreation centers.