Monday, March 5, 2012

School Program Volunteer

027This sounded like something I just had to check out! I heard about this program from an email I received as a Master Naturalist. The press release stated,

“School Program Volunteers are naturalists at heart who want to share the wonders of nature with 2nd and 5th graders, in the park’s Discover Carolina school programs. Some volunteers assist students with their measurements and observations down at the creek. Some volunteers with a naturalist background lead 2nd graders on a nature hike around Lake Placid. Some lead 5th graders in the use of a Creative Writing Journal at the park, or assist in a Forest Ecology program.”

So, last week I attended the orientation to find out what the program entailed and what was required from the volunteers. Cathy Taylor, the interpretive ranger in charge of the program was fantastic! I was so impressed with the organization of this program and how well planned this program seemed to be. We went through the motions as if we were the students to see what is actually done. We went to the creek and put on boots so we could find organisms to identify and measure. We also completed the activities that were expected of the students. After lunch we took the hike around the lake as if we were the students too. Of course, since I love hiking, this really interested me.

I really think this whole program is extremely worthwhile. I’m not sure how long it has been in existence but you can tell that it has been tweaked and fine tuned to be the most effective.

After attending this orientation, we are expected to come observe an actual class attending the program. Then we will sign up to volunteer on the day that we would like to be there. There are no preconceived expectations on when we volunteer so we can volunteer for a day, once a week, once a month or even just be available as a substitute.

What an awesome program for students, teachers, and volunteers! I really look forward into helping with this program. If you live in South Carolina, you might check out your local state park to see if there are any school programs available for your class. If you are near Paris Mountain State Park, check out this program! Maybe I’ll see you there!

(Click HERE to see the pictures that I took!)

Original picture by Pat Hensley

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