TPWD Grant gets off the ground

Adina Sullivan

Photo Credit: Adina Sullivan

Recently, stakeholders in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant met at the Nature Center in Tyler to discuss the preliminary plans of the grant implementation. Notes are below:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant
September 26, 2008

First Group Meeting

In Attendance:
Larry LaBeau – wildlife management
Irene – Interpretive Specialist
Nathan – Director
Craig – Inland Fisheries; angler interaction, recruiting, value of water and aquatic natural resources
David – biologist

82 acre Nature Center:
site for hands-on project

Immediate needs:
planning with TXPWD staff; needs from teachers coming in to use the facility


What is grant for – to improve science scores via outdoor classroom experiences; focus is on girls and minorities

What does the TPWD need to do – collaborate with ISD staff to insure a positive, productive event for the students

Irene wants the science TEKS for targeted grades/topics to help focus lessons and assistance for the kids

Donna Bogue – coordinator of grant to work with all and ensure grant success, completion, and evidence filing.

SUPERNet – 18 ISD’s (8 ISD’s in II); only 8 are participating in this grant: Arp (5,6,7,8 ), Carlisle (10), Chapel Hill (5,8,9), Hawkins (5), Mineola (3,5), Rusk (8), Troup (5,8), White Oak (5,8 ). SUPERNet Board made up of superintendents and run SUPERNet and is funded solely from ISD’s.

Target student pops. of grant – girls, handicapped, and economically disadvantaged

Moodle Use – All lessons will be available from Moodle hosted by White Oak ISD. All lessons will be available for any public access download for educational, non-commercial use.

Photography storage will be handled – how/where? WOISD is working on starting a YouTube style server housing videos, audios, PDFs, photos, and more. Possible use if implemented.

Virtual walking tour will be created as a service project. Final product will be in the form of DVD, streaming video, and podcasts (audio and video). WOISD will work with the WOHS Final Cut Studio course to see what help they can provide. Irene will work on publications like brochures.

Grant focus grades – 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10

$49,000 in equipment to be housed at the Nature Center in Tyler; equipment includes weatherproof rolling cases, MacBook laptops, science probes, and GPS systems.

Goal is to show how ecosystems integrate into all core areas

Mike Gras really started this process several years back after befriending David Roberts. Ahead of his time.

Students will be journaling projects via blogging or other methods. Teachers will be encouraged to post these to a blog, Moodle, or podcast server.

TPWD prefers a checkout procedure for portable science kits; MacBooks will have extended warranty and built-in tracking software if it is stolen.

want to monitor preferred areas of teacher use so TPWD can maintain trails and meeting areas as well as monitor impact on nature

Need to schedule training

16 school visits for the year (cumulative total) from all participating districts.

Pre and post tests are requested for visiting grades over standards to be covered during visit

Teachers come with lessons/projects. They will also coordinate with TPWD ahead of time to ensure facility access, any assistance from TPWD staff, and equipment availability.

TPWD will meet to discuss the support they can provide. They will list stations and projects that are ready to go and what they can provide. The hands-on integration into core areas might not be ready now, but they can create that list to make it available. They would like the TEKS for each grade ahead of time.

We will add another two hours to the Project Wild training (6 hours to 8 ) for the teachers to work with the TPWD staff. She wants to limit the training to 30 teachers or less per training to maintain the quality of training.

Larry would like to extend the Adopt a Wetlands with video and photography with older students. Three headwater springs have been identified in the bamboo. He wants a complete restoration from scratch to return it to its native status. He would like to coordinate the event with districts and closely document the progression from its current exotic state to its native state. It is a multi-year project that might work better with a closer ISD (Chapel Hill).

Irene would like a follow-up survey or similar to help TPWD improve the nature center, its offerings, and the staff preparedness. TPWD will create the list of questions.

We can podcast lectures ahead of time from TPWD. Students will watch in class prior to attending the Outdoor Classroom event. Once they hit the ground at the Nature Center they will go to stations with a little intro and dive right into the project.

Irene wants to mix the Project Wild training just a bit so it includes the full training but has extra components that hit each of the areas available at the Nature Center. She can also come out and do training in the ISD based on our needs to train other teachers who might not get the initial training.

We can have Irene record a short video on modifying lessons for different grade levels. This video will be available online so other teachers can access it to better prepare for their visits to the Nature Center.

Re-discussion: We need a follow-up survey for teachers to complete once they leave the Nature Center. Nathan will have his staff come up with questions for the feedback they would like to have from the teachers. White Oak ISD can put it in either Google Forms or Survey Monkey for the feedback.

Donna and Irene will look at training dates to share with participating ISD’s.

Nathan, Craig, Larry, and Scott reviewed the equipment list. Possible recommendations for changes:
upgrade GPS (Steve Lange – 903-566-1626 ext. 208)
add counters (for counting bugs, etc).

Donna can file a request for either equipment changes or moving money around within the grant.