Delta State recently hosted 21 Delta-area, middle school science teachers at a 10-day, hands-on environmental science workshop. The Delta Environmental Education Project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provided training, materials and resources on aquatic food webs.
Middle school teachers were selected from a pool of applicants from the region and received Continuing Education credits and a stipend for participation. An interactive website was developed to allow teachers to communicate and retrieve workshop materials as they prepare for the upcoming school year. Each teacher is eligible to receive a $100 grant to buy classroom materials that will help them incorporate environmental science activities.
Teachers learned about a wide range of topics that included microbes, water quality, native and invasive species, local geology, regional flora and fauna, parasites, soil chemistry, composting, and the science curriculum. Special sessions included a tour of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) catfish facilities and an Adopt-A-Stream program.
The workshop was led by Delta State professor of Biology and Environmental Science Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding. Other faculty from the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences led sessions within the workshop, including Dr. Eric Blackwell (Ecology), Dr. Barry Campbell (Parasitology), Lacey Fitts (Curriculum & Community Gardens), Dr. Tanya McKinney (Microbiology), and Dr. Chuck Smithhart (Environmental Chemistry).
Evaluations of the workshop indicate that the teachers thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and came away with ideas and resources for incorporating environmental science activities in the classroom. A participant said the workshop exposed them to areas of science never before seen, allowing them to add new activities and content that will make science class more exciting. Other teachers reported an increase in awareness of local environmental issues and indicated how students can get involved in collecting meaningful data in the community.
This project was funded in part through an Environmental Education Regional Grant from the EPA. The EPA’s purpose for this grant program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
The Division of Biological and Physical Sciences at Delta State offers degree programs for a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology, Chemistry, or Environmental Science, Master of Science in Natural Sciences, and Master of Applied Science in Geospatial Information Technologies. For more information on the department and programs, visit deltastate.edu or call 662-846-4240.