Katherine Falso, Wade Huggins, Kristopher Hovis, Michael Ferris, and Elisabeth Farnsworth – Cheltenham Elementary School
Cheltenham Elementary School staff have been dedicated advocates of TTF and our work. In 2015, Katherine Falso began attending our “Understanding the Urban Watershed” workshops for teachers, which educates teachers on how to incorporate environmental education into their classrooms. Katherine encouraged other teachers from Cheltenham Elementary to join her, including Wade, Kris, Michael, and Elisabeth and the group ended up becoming volunteer Streamkeepers. These teachers monitors the creek at Parkview Park, a short walk from their school. They have also taught multiple lessons in their classrooms about watershed protection and conservation.
Katherine teaches fourth grade. She has continued connecting her colleagues with TTF by serving as the school’s Team Eco-Coordinator. In this role, she supports her fellow education professionals in spreading a positive message about environmental conservation and TTF’s work to students and families.
These teachers work to provide extracurricular opportunities for their students to learn about the natural world. Katherine and Wade partnered to start a bird-watching club for students to help them learn about native bird species in our region. Kris and Michael are working on a project to grow rainbow trout in two classroom tanks, to eventually be released into local creeks and streams to benefit the ecosystem. Michael also conducts an annual Earth Day project, where students work in small groups to create a presentation about a conservation topic. Past topics have included recycling, pollution, and (our favorite) global water resources.
We are grateful for the commitment and support of these teachers. The next generation of Streamkeepers is in their classrooms!
Frankford Friends School
Frankford Friends School developed and manages an incredible project called The Nature Learning Lab that illustrates their dedication to environmental education and protection. The Nature Learning Lab is an outdoor .45 acre lot near the school campus that provides opportunities for children to explore their world by engaging with rocks, soils, water, native plants, and other natural materials. These outdoor exploration opportunities are instrumental in fostering a sense of awe and stewardship for the natural world, and can help promote the student’s cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development when their experiences are linked to classroom curriculum. In addition to bolstering the student’s understanding and appreciation of the natural world, the Nature Learning Lab also adds to the beautification of the neighborhood and reduces stormwater runoff in the community, helping protect our creek.
The Nature Learning Lab is a pioneering project that we hope will inspire other schools to incorporate environmental learning into their curriculum.
We hope you’ll join with us to celebrate these watershed heroes at our Milestones Award Ceremony & Reception on May 24th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at our home at the Globe Dye Works in Philly’s Frankford neighborhood.