School Programs at the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center
Science in Nature School Programs
STEM EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 12
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center provides curriculum-based nature programming to schools in Southeastern Connecticut. Click here for program information.
Environmental Education Year 1
In spring 2017, RTPEC educators were busy nearly every day taking regional school children to explore their natural surrounding and learn about environmental science.
Our school program reach tripled as we added schools in East Lyme and New London to our roster of participating schools beyond Essex, Lyme and Old Lyme.
“I used to be afraid of nature and now I love it,” one second grader from East Lyme said.
The RTPEC has provided Connecticut Audubon’s Science in Nature program to over 800 school children in southeastern Connecticut during the 2016/17 academic year.
By the end of the season, every third through fifth grader in Lyme and Old Lyme will have experienced one or two four-hour Science in Nature programs.
RTPEC educators have connected children to their local land trust properties and the natural areas near their schools. Using specially designed science journals, children use drawings, writings, data collection and hands-on discovery to document aquatic and forest ecology in our estuary ecosystem.
Students observed peepers, warblers, crayfish, dragonfly larvae, salamanders, and lichen. Teachers are particularly grateful that RTPEC educators implement Next Generation Science Standards in each session, as these curriculum standards will be introduced for Connecticut Schools in the 2018 school year.
“Meet the Scientist” Introduces One Cool Fish to 5th Graders
We welcomed NOAA sturgeon scientist Dr. Kimberly Damon-Randall as a speaker for our spring 2017 Connecticut River Lecture Series, and as a “Meet the Scientist “ guest at the Lyme Consolidated School.
“Each semester we connect nationally and internationally recognized scientists to 5th grade school children in the region”, said Eleanor Robinson, RTPEC Director. “The students are able to imagine careers beyond school when a scientist is there in person to explain what may seem to be a distant and improbable future in environmental science. The excitement of the students is thrilling to witness.”
Damon-Randall explained the oddities and wonders of the life of this prehistoric fish, the sturgeon, and its plight in Connecticut River waters.
She brought a nine-foot long inflatable sturgeon and engaging science discovery activities. Damon-Randall explained that our local estuary is a critical habitat for this federally endangered species. Creatures such as worms and clams live in the sediment-filled river bottom and are favorite foods of sturgeon. Sturgeon migrate through the estuary and return to feed on the diversity and abundance of nutritious food.