We woke up to a spectacular day here on this picturesque plot on Planet Earth! Happy Earth Day!
Earth Day was started by Gaylord Nelson, a U. S. Senator from Wisconsin. Americans had become very concerned about pollution and its impact on human life. The book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson pointed out the damage that pollution was doing to other organisms. On April 22, 1970 twenty million Americans (or about 10% of the population) rallied in support of a safer environment. The momentum of Earth Day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Today Earth Day is considered the largest secular observance in the world with over a billion people participating.
We will ask Powhatan families to participate this year first and foremost by taking the time to go outside and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. Whether it’s a backyard safari, a walk through the woods, or a float down the river in a kayak, we hope each of you will take time to get out of the house and immerse yourself in the natural world this week, at whatever level feels comfortable to you and your family. We will also ask you to talk as a family about one way that you could help us in our school-wide rally to support the environment. We will be posting ideas large and small all week, with nature themes throughout. We hope you enjoy the chance to step back from the screen and breathe the fresh air with us as we celebrate Earth Week together.
Earth Day Activities:
Please make sure you spend some time outside today. Maybe a picnic lunch? Maybe spending time reading a book in the bright sunlight? Please look through the slides below for ideas and activities for you to do today!
Earth Day Read Aloud: The Wolves Are Back
Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning (NEAL)
At Powhatan School we use an approach called Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning (NEAL). NEAL is a lens through which we can teach any or all components of our curriculum. We use it to bring our students outside into the natural world and to bring the natural world indoors to our students.
The Nature-Enhanced Approach to Learning (NEAL) program at Powhatan School is designed to integrate the value of nature across the curriculum. It recognizes that nature is not just studied in science but also in all disciplines. It brings the ‘outdoors in and the indoors out’ by exploring the rich natural environment of our campus and adjoining areas. At Powhatan, we hope to inspire with the infinite possibilities of nature.
Science Department Chair
Teachers create lessons that utilize nature to supplement classroom materials in order to engage the students. Lessons are designed to incorporate nature, regardless of the subject. Students have easy access to the outdoors here at Powhatan, including the addition of the Crocker Conservancy, to map trails, read or write nature poems, adopt trees and square meters for observation of changes, record data in journals, run and walk the trails, and raise trout for release in the stream.
We are continually using the lens of NEAL as we create, amend, and reflect upon our curriculum in all areas. The Crocker Conservancy adds a whole new dimension to the scope of the NEAL program, allowing for the 47 acres directly behind the school to become an outdoor laboratory for hands-on experiential learning.
The Crocker Conservancy is a phenomenal asset to campus and allows students to learn in an engaging, real world manner. It gives us a perfect opportunity to bring in experts in the field to share their knowledge and passion for learning about the environment with our students.
Lower School Science Teacher and NEAL Coordinator