Nature in the City
Save the Rain works with Baltimore Woods, through their Nature in the City program, to provide environmental education to every third-grader in the Syracuse City School District (SCSD). Educators from Baltimore Woods provide “hands-on, minds-on” lessons to students through three separate class sessions. These lessons are integrated with the SCSD science curriculum, and are centered around hands-on water quality and green infrastructure learning.
The first lesson is entitled “Save the Rain” and teaches students about the Onondaga Lake Watershed using an interactive watershed model. This model helps students understand where water goes when it rains and how pollutants impact our watershed, plants and humans. Students also learn about the County’s Save the Rain program and become familiar with the benefits of gray and green infrastructure in the City.
The second lesson, “Creatures of the Deep” introduces students to benthic aquatic macroinvertebrates (otherwise known as small, but visible to the naked eye, organisms without backbones that live around or in the bottom sediments of aquatic environments). Baltimore Woods educators bring in live samples of these creatures and allow students to observe and take note of adaptations that allow them to survive in their environment.
The final lesson, “Green Infrastructure Visit and Stream Exploration,” involves a fieldtrip to Elmwood Park! Students have a chance to explore green and gray infrastructure first-hand before heading out to search for benthic aquatic macroinvertebrates in Furnace Brook. They learn about how these creatures can help us better understand the water quality and how they act as indicators for pollution.
After a full school year of virtual program delivery due to COVID-19, in the fall of 2021 the Nature in the City education team returned to in-person lesson delivery across 22 elementary schools within the SCSD. From September to June, they visited all 22 Syracuse City School District elementary schools and K-5th grade classrooms, totaling over 20,000 hours of natural science education delivered to more than 8,000 students.
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Exploring nature in the city
The following videos were produced by Baltimore Woods in partnership with Save the Rain, as supplementary materials and accompaniment to the Nature in the City program.