Within the last twenty years, childhood has moved from playing outdoors all day to sitting behind an electronic screen indoors for more than seven hours a day. This shift has caused obesity rates to double, and the United States has become the largest consumer of ADHD medications in the world. Our children are stressed and out of shape because they are missing a connection to the natural world that is essential to their health and development.
DRBA has an amazing menu of programs that bring nature to the classroom and the classroom into nature.
DRBA's Environmental Education (EE) programs focus on improving academic success, inspiring environmental awareness and teaching an appreciation of the natural world for pre-school through high school. DRBA's EE connects students to their local watershed and you as an educator are the important link to that connection.
- Outdoor play reduces obesity by building active, healthy bodies.
- Spending time outside raises Vitamin D levels.
- Exposure to nature and unrestricted play time is thought to reduce ADHD symptoms.
- Environmental education programs in schools help raise scores on standardized tests such as math, science, and writing.
- Environment based education programs can improve critical thinking skills.
- Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of exposure to natural settings.
- Hurried lifestyles can contribute to anxiety and depression.
- Play in nature helps enhance social interaction among children and build close relationships.
- Children can maintain a healthy vision by spending 3 hours a day outside.
EE in the Classroom
Educators can choose from several presentations including Tub O Bugs, Food Chains, Watersheds & Pollution and many other in-classroom presentations for K-12 students that meet both SOL and CORE requirements.
Water quality monitoring, hikes, river experiences, bio assessments and other outdoor programs are available to inspire students and help them retain information they learn in the classroom.
Forest School - a mini environmental education program for young children between the ages of 3-6 years old and their parents to get outdoors and spend time in nature together. This program is typically held once a year at Philpott Lake. The program is designed to introduce participants to a nature experience in a safe environment.
Trout in the Classroom - a program DRBA has been offering for over a decade where students raise trout in their classrooms then travel to a river to release the trout into their natural habitat. Streamside presentations and other activities at the trout release make this a powerful program that students (and educators!) will not forget. The program began in Southern Virginia in 2005 when local Orthodontist in Martinsville, Dr. David Jones, delivered fingerlings to area schools. The following season, eggs were delivered to the classes in the winter so the students could see a large portion of the trout life cycle before they released them. Dan River Basin Association adopted the program in 2008 and has maintained the program with support from generous donors and grants since then.
Streamside Trees in the Classroom - a hands-on program where students grow native seedlings in their classroom and then plant them as riparian buffer along a waterway. At the planting, students gain more knowledge through activities and presentations.
STIC Intro Video
Green Schoolyard - DRBA launched the first official Green Schoolyard in the basin this fall at Albert Harris Elementary. The first phase of the project included a classroom composting program, Monarch Waystation butterfly garden, rain barrels, and interpretive signage. This pilot project would be an excellent project-based learning experience to launch at other schools throughout the basin! Contact DRBA to learn how we can get your Green Schoolyard going at your school.
EE On Campus
DRBA offers storm drain marking, trail building, rain barrel, rain garden, outdoor classroom, art contests and other campus projects that get the entire student body engaged in protecting and conserving the environment.
Inspire Clean Water Contest 2021
Calling All Artistic Nature Lovers!
Sponsored by the Uptown Martinsville Rotary Club
For youth in grades 3 – 12. Open to all students in the Dan River Basin
Artwork submitted to the contest should focus on the theme “Protecting our rivers and streams and the wildlife that lives in them.” These works of art should be a highly visual learning tool about the importance of protecting our waterways through protection of storm drains.
Nine winners will be announced in December, 2021 – three from elementary, three from middle, and three from high school. Of those nine winners, three finalists, one from elementary, middle and high school, will be selected to re-create their artwork on a storm drain in Uptown Martinsville, VA in Spring, 2022. Finalists will be recognized in regional media and on the Dan River Basin Association’s website and e-newsletter in Spring, 2022. All nine winners will receive a goody bag of nature items!
All submitted artwork should focus on the theme of protecting our rivers and streams and the wildlife that lives in them.
1. Only one submission per student.
2. Student must be willing to paint their design on a storm drain in the spring of 2022 in Martinsville City. All paint materials will be provided.
3. Submissions must be on an 11” x 8.5” plain/printer paper. Artwork should be landscape layout.
4. You may use pencil, colored pencil, crayon, or marker to draw your picture. Think colorfully! See attached storm drain art examples for ideas.
5. You must include your name, school name, and grade level on the back of your paper.
6. Deadline to submit your art work is November 15th, 2021. Winners will be announced in mid December, 2021.
For questions, please contact Krista Hodges, Education Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions should be collected by your teacher and mailed to our Martinsville/Henry County office no later than November 19th, 2021.
Mailing Address for Martinsville/Henry County office:
Dan River Basin Association
Attn: Krista Hodges
Henry County Administration Building
3300 Kings Mountain Road
Martinsville, VA 24112
Environmental Education Resources developed for teachers in the Dan River basin, but available for teachers everywhere.
Create Your Own Environmental Literacy Plan for your school, created by the Virginia Association of Environmental Education. This document includes an example DRBA investigation.
2020 Early Trout Release Video - Due to schools releasing early and closing for the remainder of the school year, trout fingerlings in the classrooms had to be released early.
Riparian Buffer Assessment DRBA Outdoor Learning - Students will understand the importance of a riparian buffer. Students will assess riparian buffer and identify strategies to repair buffer. Students will understand the how buffers impact water quality.
Schoolyard Assessment Tool - Complete this schoolyard assessment with your students to see if your schoolyard is helping the Dan River and its tributaries.
Trout Life Cycle Wheel - A printable life cycle wheel that your students can use to study the life cycle of a trout.
Trout STEM Family Night - A complete lesson plan to develop your own Trout STEM Family Night for your students and families to participate in hands-on environmental science and investigate what caused their trout to perish.
Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sorting and Identification Guide - A printable, easy to use aquatic macroinvertebrate ID guide designed by the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.
Identifying Aquatic Macroinvertebrates Worksheet - A printable used to determine the health of freshwater streams. Created by Boxerwood Nature Center in Lexington, VA.
Trash Free Seas: CleanSwell App - Join a global movement to keep beaches, waterways and the ocean trash free.
Creek Critters App - Audubon Naturalist Society - Empowering People to Check the Health of their Local Streams
Litterati App - Be an Environmental Hero. Join the community that's cleaning the planet.
FOR MORE INFO
Contact Krista Hodges, DRBA's Environmental Education Manager
Phone: (276) 634-2592