Published on August 19, 2021

Cape Cod Educators Remain Flexible as Local Schools Plan for Fall

Harwich students work to identify freshwater creatures at the Cold Brook Preserve (2019)

Harwich students work to identify freshwater
creatures at Cold Brook Preserve (2019)

Despite all the challenges faced by schools during the pandemic in 2020, Mass Audubon Cape Cod’s education team never stopped teaching. But their teaching methods changed a lot.

Last fall, our team began introducing the Science of Massachusetts to local schools, a new statewide Mass Audubon curriculum that offers nature-based science in a flexible format. In addition to online lessons led by Mass Audubon educators, field journaling assignments invite students to engage in their outdoor environment and practice making observations.

School Programs Coordinator Spring Beckhorn says while online classes had their share of initial technical challenges, she was impressed by how well students—especially the youngest—had adjusted to all the changes and their level of engagement.

"Some teachers used little 'hover cams' so they could show me how much work the kids had done in their nature journals," Spring recalls. "Having a guest teacher, even online, was exciting to them!"

Looking Forward to a Return of Locally-Based Programs

In addition to developing more statewide curricula for Mass Audubon, Spring says the team hopes to resume offering multi-session, Cape-based programs too—whether they’re taught at one of the sanctuaries, on school grounds, or online. "That includes the vernal pool programs developed by Long Pasture as well as Wellfleet Bay's sea turtle and bird banding programs," she notes.

Although it's not clear yet how schools will manage the COVID-19 situation this fall, Mass Audubon educators will still be able to deliver science programs to schools from Falmouth to Provincetown and everywhere in between.

"Schools have adapted," Spring says, "and so have we."

 

Mass Audubon Cape Cod wishes to thank the generous donors and grant funders who've helped us create new approaches to delivering our nature-based science and Cape-focused curricula to local schools.