Teachers become students of environmental education

Con Litz, a teacher for the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections, shows the map he drew of West Lake as part of the Grand Valley T.E.N. course Monday morning.

A number of local agencies have joined forces this summer to teach teachers about environmental education so that they can pass the learning on to students.

The Grand Valley T.E.N. (Teaching Environmental Science Naturally) class started Monday morning on the banks of West Lake pond. Teachers, like Con Litz, were assigned to map the area including trees, benches, and other physical characteristics of the park.

Litz, a teacher for the Division of Youth Corrections, said he was interested in taking the class to expand his technical knowledge of the area in order to present it to his student body.

The class, sponsored by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, integrates science, ecology and outdoor classroom learning in an attempt to help sustain local ecosystems. The class has been offered annually in 11 Colorado cities since 1991. This is the first year it has been offered to teachers in the Grand Valley.

Other agencies including the Colorado State Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Grand Valley Audubon Society are helping to provide information to those who take the class.

“It really allows them to extend their learning into the summer and into real life learning for their students,” said Cary Atwood, education chairperson for Grand Valley Audubon Society.

The theme of this year’s class is “Finding Your Way.” The teachers will be learning mapping techniques, Global Positioning Systems, compass and other coordinate finding methods.

The 21 student educators will be studying over the next week at the Audubon Nature Conservancy Area near Connected Lakes, the Colorado National Monument, Horse Thief Canyon State Wildlife Area and at McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.

For more information about the class, contact Kathleen Tadvick at 255-6181 or visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/Education/TeacherResources/TeachingEnvironmentalScienceNaturally/NWTEN.htm.


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