With its mission to “provide wildlife-based conservation and environmental education that fosters responsible actions toward wildlife and related natural resources,” Project WILD is an interdisciplinary EE program that helps participants develop an awareness, appreciation, and understanding of wildlife and habitat. Introduced in 1983, it has reached more than 100 million youth through more than 1.5 million educators and is one of the largest wildlife education programs in the world. Project WILD is administered by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).
Project WILD curriculum is developed by scientists and those in natural resource management, reviewed and field-tested by educators, and aligned with national educational standards. And, to that last point, the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education has partnered with AFWA to document how more than sixty Project WILD activities containing science content (and all from the fourth edition of the Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide) correlate with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
KAEE Education Director Brittany Wray, longtime member and recently retired Eastern Kentucky University professor Melinda Wilder, and retired fourth-grade Madison County teacher Vivian Bowles have spent the past few months diligently reviewing the activities and developing a companion document detailing each activity’s correlation to the three dimensions of science: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science & Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts. These correlations also provide educators with the Performance Expectation each activity supports.
In addition, the KAEE team is also creating each activity’s “guiding question,” or brief suggestion relating to a phenomenon (or phenomena) that helps educators connect phenomena at the beginning of their students’ learning experience, thereby increasing its relevance for students and helping guide students' inquiry and learning.
“In Kentucky, our facilitators train more educators in Project WILD than any other program we host,” Brittany says. “The Project WILD curriculum is an excellent tool for nonformal educators and formal educators alike. We are thrilled to partner with them in making Project WILD even more applicable to the formal educator with the development of these correlations. Teachers and students are held to high standards, and Project WILD can provide amazing experiences that lead students to a deeper understanding of the three-dimensional nature of science through wildlife.”
Learn more about Project WILD and how you can become trained in the curriculum here!
By Leigh Cocanougher
KAEE is one of the country’s oldest associations supporting environmental education. We comprise people from all walks of life, coming together to support EE.