Teaching Creative Problem Solving Tactics to NH Youth
Most would agree that the volume of information available to us these days can be overwhelming. Environmentalists, in particular, can be at risk for disseminating information overload, especially to busy students, who are inundated by a variety of sources.
For environmental educators, it is not enough to only provide good information, but also actions that students can take. While some may view this as a challenge, Wild Treasure took it as inspiration. In partnership with the Environmental Studies department of Antioch University New England, the organization engages students in 5th to 12th grade classrooms in southeastern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire public schools—focusing heavily on underserved areas—to provide skills-based sustainability education and service-learning.
Wild Treasures used its TogetherGreen innovation grant to expand outreach to even more schools and classrooms. Specifically, Wild Treasures established relationships with a new state-of-the-art green middle school, the New Hampshire Science Teachers Association and local Oak Grove Elementary School. Fifth-grade students were especially engaged in Wild Treasures’ curriculum and spent the year researching sustainable school supplies and encouraging school administrators to switch the suppliers. These efforts are especially impressive given that the students would not have had science education without Wild Treasures, as science is not a part of the curriculum.
At the middle school level, Wild Treasures worked with eighth grade students twice a week for three months, teaching them about sustainability and conservation. After the lessons ended, the eighth graders shared their scientific knowledge with younger students, empowering them as environmental leaders.
“Because of rigid state standards in math and reading, lessons in sustainability are not a priority for many schools,” Jimmy added. “Moreover, very few students gain experience with concrete skills in creative problem solving, leadership, or civic engagement. We want to prepare today’s youth to solve today’s environmental problems as well as tomorrow’s.”