Environmental Education- Our Program Sites

Our Program Sites

    

This fall, we have students participating in our Lowell Leaders in Stewardship program in eight different schools throughout the city: Shaugnessy Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary, Bartlett Community Partnership School, Lincoln Elementary, Greenhalge Elementary, Robinson Middle, the Compass Program at Freshman Academy, and Teens Representing Environmental Excellence and Stewardship at Lowell High School. Check this page to see what our students are up to, and to see what we've done in the past!

Back to Environmental Education.

Freshman Academy Compass: Enviornmental Adventures Fall 2016

     After learning about human impact on water qualtiy by visiting our rivers and experimenting with our new watershed model (the Enviroscape), our ninth-graders decided to take on an exciting project. They've begun to make plans for a rain garden that will reduce stormwater runoff in the alleyway next to the Freshman Academy in downtown Lowell. They hope to style this rain garden as a "zen garden," using moss, rocks, gravel, sand and grasses to not only absorb rain water, but to create a small, peaceful retreat for themselves and their peers to visit during their hectic school day. Stay tuned for updates!

TREES at Lowell High School: Fall 2016

    Over the past few years, our TREES group has taken on a number of impactful stewardship projects, such as implementing a recycling program at the Freshman Academy and spreading the news about Lowell's green spaces with local families.  This year, they hope to find out what other high school environmental clubs have done in our shared Merrimack River Watershed by hosting a Lowell Youth Environmental Conference. The students developed a mission statement to explain their goals:

"Our mission is to raise awareness of the environmental issues across the diverse communities that make up the Merrimack River Watershed in Massachusetts. We hope to increase communication between students in these communities, and to share ideas on how we can protect our shared environment by bringing these communities together at the Lowell Youth Environmental Conference."

As of December 2016, the conference is set for March 11, 2017.

Greenhalge Fall 2016

    First- and second- graders at Greenhalge Elementary had some fall-themed fun to start out their school-year with LLIS. They practiced their observation skills at school and at home by sharing animals they saw outside every week. With animal visitors like the pidgeon, the kestral, the cedar waxwing, and the box turtle, students learned about how different animals cope with the changing seasons. They also had fun experimenting with pumpkins and pumpkin seeds on Halloween, practicing important STEM skills such as hypothesizing, experimenting, and drawing conclusions.

McAuliffe Fall 2016

    McAuliffe first- and second-graders learned all about adaptations this fall, from how trees adapt to the changing temperatures to how animals prepare for winter in Lowell.  They sharpened their botany skills, too, in learning about local plants and having in-depth disucssions about the functions of various plant parts. The students also enjoyed visiting with a rabbit, "walking stick" insects, a call duck, and a groundhog.

Shaughnessey Fall 2016

Shaughnessey Soil

      Moving like worms, scavenging for seeds and nuts for the winter, migrating like geese...third- and fourth- graders at Shaugnessey were busy acting like Lowell's wildlife this fall! Through activities, exploring their schoolyard and visiting with local wildlife such as the painted turtle, a Canadian goose, and a rabbit, students had fun learning about the rich natural resources right in their city. 

Freshman Academy Compass: Tomatoes, Potatoes and Tornadoes- Summer 2016

 

     This summer, ninth-graders-to-be tackled one of our most pressing problems: how can we fight climate change through the food that we eat?  After exploring the complexities of our food systems and how they impact the environment around us, our students began wondering about the food available to them at school.  A conversation about Aramark's farm to school program in the Lowell Public Schools inspired our students to create a video that spreads the word about the local food they eat at lunch every day.  By letting their peers and our community know about this program, our students hope to spread awareness of the difference that eating locally can make for our environment, and inspire more support for LPS's farm-to-school program. 

      In partnership with the Lowell Public Schools and Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, this program is generously funded by Massachusett's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ASOST-Q Grant Program.  In addition to the service-learning project developed and completed by the students, this program will result in a new curriculum on climate change and food access that can be used by educators across the country.

Check out the YouTube channel and video created by the students here.

Bartlett Community School- Summer 2016

 

     "I didn't know chickens had ears!" - an excited Bartlett student

   Students at the Bartlett Community School enjoyed meeting local animals this summer!  From chickens to blue jays to snapping turtles, students learned about animals that call Lowell home while learning about the components of a healthy habitat and how animals adapt to the environment around them.  By introducing local wildlife to our students, we hope that they will become stewards of their habitats--the environment that we share with these animals every day!

Spindle City Corps- Summer 2016

 

        Four days. Six Students. One awesome project!  This summer, six youth from Spindle City Corps spruced up the Lawrence Street end of the Concord River Greenway.   After vigorously removing 19-bags-worth of invasive plants from the edge of the trail and adding some mulch, these teens made the bike rack much more accessible.  They also designed, painted and installed a “Welcome” sign—including the CRG logo!—to invite community members to enjoy such a beautiful and unique spot in Lowell.  As they hope to encourage responsible use of the Greenway, they included an ever-important reminder on their sign to “please carry out what you carry in.”

                These remarkable young people were quite proud of their work. “When I’m older, I’ll be able to come back and see this sign here,” said one excited young woman as she reflected on the groups’ impact.  Spindle City Corps is a award-winning program run through the Lowell National Historical Park and Community Teamwork, Inc. in which young people complete service projects throughout the city.  The Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust in partnership with Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary has the wonderful opportunity to work with a portion of this group every summer on an environmental project designed by the students.  Thank you, Spindle City!

Shaughnessy Elementary- Summer 2016

      If you want to learn more about water pH, just ask a first grader from Shaughnessy. This summer, students learned how to measure pH by looking at samples of freshwater, saltwater, and the in-between, brackish water. In thinking about the different kinds of water we find in our environment, students created collages representing the major water habitats within Lowell’s watershed, from ponds to wetlands to the ocean.  After exploring its characteristics, students turned to water use (something that hits close to home in this summer’s drought). They even calculated how much water a person might use in one day!  They also thought more about the ways in which plants and animals use water, meeting spotted turtles, painted turtles, different species of ducks, and macroinvertebrates from Drumlin Farm.  To emphasize the interconnectivity within our watershed, students christened LP&CT’s new watershed model, the Enviroscape. With drops of food coloring, sprinkles of cocoa powder, and squirts of water to imitate pollution, students could see how humans impact our water supply—and that pouring something down the drain doesn’t make it “go away!"

McAuliffe Elementary- Summer 2016

 

          Water boatman, phantom midge larvae, predacious diving beetles…oh my!  No, these aren’t the latest superheroes or even Pokémon, but macroinvertebrates  from local ponds that McAuliffe students studied in their exploration of insects.  With various songs and games, students learned about insect characteristics and their lifecycle, and even met some insects from Drumlin Farm such as crickets, mealworms, walking sticks and cockroaches.  Students explored their own schoolyard to see what kinds of insects they could find, using nets and bug boxes to take a closer look at their findings.  With a fun game called “Dances with Bees,” students imitated how insects can communicate with each other to talk about adaptations.  By the end of their program, students understood the vital importance of insects for plants, animals, and yes, even people!

TREES Lowell High School- Winter/Spring 2016

         Teens Representing Environmental Excellency and Stewardship students continued promoting Lowell’s parks through their “Save the Earth, Visit a Park!” project, funded through Mass Cultural Council’s Amplify YouthVoice grant program (scroll down to learn more about their application this past fall!).  These eleventh- and twelfth-graders chose to use most of their funding to create and print a brochure featuring their favorite parks from each of Lowell’s neighborhoods, which they distributed at the library, local businesses, and community events such as Lowell's Earth Day celebration and Downtown Lowell's First Thursdays (view their brochure here).   These events featured environmentally-themed games, crafts, and even some community gardening at Mack Plaza—all led by these teens. 

                The students exercised their creativity and their ambition as they continued to develop their project throughout the semester. By the beginning of summer, they decided they wanted people to not just go to parks, but to share their visits with our community. They created a 2017 calendar featuring pictures of Lowell’s parks that they will give out to anyone who visits a park and shares their photos with us on social media. If you want to participate in their project, send your park pictures to lowelltrees@gmail.com!

Compass Program at Freshman Academy- Winter/Spring 2016

       Our “Environmental Adventures” Compass group at LHS Freshman Academy was quite busy with several projects this semester! Ninth- and tenth-graders started 2016 with their first big project: designing a float for Lowell’s Earth Day parade.  Featuring a dogwood tree decorated with birds to represent LP&CT and a farm scene to represent Mass Audubon, the students designed their display to represent the organizations they work with as they learn about and serve their local environment. Next, students created lessons and activities for students at Moody Elementary for Compass’s Community Day. Students designed a recycling relay race and a “habitat tic-tac-toe” game to play with these elementary students, and also prepared an interactive presentation on our local pond water and its creatures.  Finally, students participated in a state-wide game of “telephone” through Mass Cultural Council’s “ConSENSes” project by interpreting a group of student-created paintings with their sense of smell--what does each painting smell like to them? Using their creative thinking, sensory perception, and observation abilities, students practiced key STEM skills that we foster through our programming.  The whole project—including our students’ creations—was on display at the State House during the first week of June!

       Students continued to volunteer at the Roger’s School Food Bank, test the water quality of the Concord River, and visit with local wildlife throughout the year, all of which have become staples of our programming at Freshman Academy.

Shaughnessy Elementary- Winter/Spring 2016

         Fourth-graders at Shaughnessy proved to be quite ambitious as they continued to work on their tree field-guide that they began in the fall.  After wrapping up their research on the tree species in their school yard and what a field guide looks like, students began to write and design their pages. In between their hard work on the field guide, students began yet another project as they wanted to try their hand at teaching. They practiced their public speaking skills, and learned more about mouse habitats in preparation for a presentation on mice to their families, teachers and peers. Their presentation was thorough and professional.  As the year came to a close, the students completed their tree-field guide, each proudly bringing a copy home with them to remember all that they learned this year (we have a copy here at the LP&CT office—let us know if you want to check out their impressive work!).  Between their guide and their mouse presentation, it looks as if these fourth graders are on the road to becoming environmental educators themselves!

Greenhalge Elementary- Winter/Spring 2016

        We were so excited to host two additional programs at Greenhalge Elementary this winter and spring. These second-grade scientists began their program by brainstorming what animals they’ve seen in their neighborhoods, and then went out to search for evidence of wildlife. By observing animal tracks, students could make inferences about the animals that live in their schoolyard, and how they’re surviving through the cold of winter with different adaptations. Spring brought new opportunities as students explored maple sugaring, tree identification, pollination and soil composition as their schoolyard began to sprout new growth.  They even got to play with wool as they learned about sheep shearing that happens at Drumlin Farm every spring!  Students got to meet many local animals form Drumlin Farm, including a turtle, a kestral, mice, a corn snake, and a rabbit, and thought about how these animals relate to each other within a food web.  By the end of the program, our students were experts on the wildlife surrounding their school—and in key scientific skills such as observing and inferencing that we work to foster in all of our students!  

Robinson Middle- Winter/Spring 2016

        Fifth- and sixth-graders at Robinson took the reins this winter as they designed an experiment to answer a simple question posed by a student: what would happen if you gave a plant other liquids besides water?  A small rye grass plant was assigned to each student, along with a different substance, whether it was lemon juice, laundry detergent, brewed coffee or food coloring.   After a few weeks, we made observations about the health of each plant and had a lively discussion as to why each plant reacted the way it did. Students loved getting the chance to actively pursue their own questions—many reflected that this was their favorite activity during our year together! 

                In addition to such scientific inquiry, students explored the habitat surrounding Robinson School. Whether they searched for animal tracks in the cold January snow, looked for trees budding out in the spring, or caught insects in June, there was always something exciting to see.  Students also continued to collect data on a red maple tree planted by students in 2008, data that is submitted to the Harvard Forest Society for phenology study.

McAuliffe Elementary- Winter/Spring 2016

       Habitat: what is it? First- and second-graders at McAuliffe contemplated this question on the first day of our winter session.  They started their habitat exploration with a visit from Drumlin Farm’s mice, identifying the food, water, shelter, and space these animals need to survive.  Students met many other animals that have habitats in Lowell, such as owls, ducks, turtles, and rabbits—and even some animals who are not native to Lowell, like the corn snake.  By the end of the program, students were able to create a food web of local animals, showing that they understand the complex relationships in our ecosystems!

Bartlett Community School - Winter/Spring 2016

        Our youngest scientists at the Bartlett school studied seasonal changes for the second half of their school year. Like any good scientists, these first- and second-graders regularly recorded their thoughts and observations in the nature journals that they made themselves from recycled materials.  From weekly temperature recordings to reflections on mice habitats, these students kept careful track of their time together.  They learned that some animals hibernate or brumate to survive New England winters, such as snakes—and they got to meet a corn snake! After learning how birds migrate during New England’s harsh winters, students welcomed them back by creating “bird nest helpers”: wrapping pine cones with yarn, moss, wool, and more to give birds materials that will help them insulate their nests.  We love watching our students get excited about local wildlife, and doing their part to be good stewards!

Teens Representing Environmental Excellencey & Stewardship - Fall 2015

     This fall, our Teens Representing Environmental Excellency and Stewardship group (TREES) was busy with a grant application for the Amplify Youth Voices program from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Their project, entitled “Urban Parks: The Best of Both Worlds,” was awarded for funding!

     A group of dedicated eleventh- and twelfth- graders, TREES grew out of the “Environmental Adventures” Compass after-school program at Freshman Academy, as they wanted to continue in our Lowell Leaders in Stewardship program as upper-classmen. Deciding to name their group “Teens Representing Environmental Excellency and Stewardship (TREES),” they took it upon themselves to continue doing environmental work at LHS under the guidance of partner organizations LP&CT and Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm.

    When after-school educators Carolyn Meklenburg (LP&CT) and Sally Farrow (Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm) told the group about the funding opportunity for a project that would positively impact their community, the students didn’t hesitate to start the application—with little guidance from Carolyn and Sally. The group drew upon their personal experiences with “Environmental Adventures” to identify a need in their community: they decided that not enough people in Lowell were aware of the urban parks and green spaces that they have been able to explore. The students began their plans for an event in Lucy Larcom Park on Saturday, April 23—during the city-wide Earth Day celebration—that will inform families about a different park in each of Lowell’s neighborhoods, accompanied by environmentally-themed activities for children. The students also hope to distribute “passports” that will encourage families to visit different parks throughout the city. After completing the written application and a video narrative of their plans, the students were one of twelve groups to receive funding. We’re so proud of their leadership and initiative!  

TREES Students: Andy Un, Amanda Chim, Sarah Silva, Brian Holmberg, Unga Emedi, Rithany Kheam, Angeline Castillo, John Rodriguez, Donald Hou, Andre Ragel, and Edwin Chamba

Read about this project and others funded by the MCC Amplify Youth Voices Grant here.

Compass Program at Freshman Academy- Fall 2015

      We were so excited this fall to meet some new freshman in Freshman Academy’s Compass Program, and see some familiar faces as we were joined by some previous-freshman-now-sophomores! We began the year by doing what our students do best: land stewardship. The students raked leaves and picked up trash in the alleyway next to Freshman Academy, an area that Compass students have been taking care of for a few years now to encourage pride and student ownership of their school. The students love exploring their city, so in the mild fall weather, we were able to walk down to the Concord River Greenway to learn about water quality and even do some testing! We continued to discuss local watersheds throughout the fall, engaging in our ever-popular “Who Polluted the Merrimack River?” activity to look at the ways in which we impact our watershed, including pollution from various toxins in pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene products. This prompted a walk to the CVS downtown to take a closer look at what’s really in the hygiene products we use every day, and how the ingredients may impact the environment. The students also met a spotted turtle and a ground hog in investigating local habitats. Along with other groups in the Compass program, our students brainstormed ideas for the Compass application to UML’s “Giverhawks Grant,” funding which our students hope to use to mentor younger students and teach them about important environmental issues! The students also regularly volunteered at the local food pantry held at the Rogers School every month, serving as a bright and friendly presence as they distribute food. We have many exciting activities planned for the winter ahead, as the students decided they want to learn more about climate change and how our food systems impact the environment!

Robinson Middle School- Fall 2015

       Fifth- and sixth- graders at Robinson explored habitats this fall, from the different kinds of habitats around in New England to the habitats right around their school. At our first session, we started looking at this idea when the students set up a habitat for mice from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm, making sure to provide plenty of food, space, water and shelter. As we tracked the color change and the leaf drop on a silver maple tree outside the school (planted by previous students!), we talked about the ways in which trees also serve as a habitat. Our students particularly enjoyed a fall scavenger hunt, in which we explored the field habitats around Robinson and the neighboring McAuliffe Elementary.  In honor of food week in October, we were visited by Guida Ponte from Verril Farm in Concord to learn about local food; we all enjoyed some delicious local snacks including yogurt and granola, and mac and cheese with some veggies!  To continue our habitat investigation, we looked at “Who Polluted the Merrimack River?” in a role-play activity; each student contributed a common pollutant to a model of the Merrimack to discover how humans impact wetlands. We also got to meet a kestrel, baby snapping turtles, a groundhog and a great-horned owl this fall, while also learning ways to care for our local habitats with eco-friendly behaviors like composting. The students expressed their excitement for meeting more native animals this winter, and hope to further improve animal habitats around Robinson!

Shaugnessy Elementary- Fall 2015

        This fall, our 4th grade students from Shaughnessy Elementary School worked hard on an exciting service learning project: creating a tree identification field guide for the area around their school! After researching the art of the field guide and other relevant information for their project, students used iPads to photograph features of each tree. Working with each other, the students became empowered to make their own decisions about the information presented, the layout of their guide, and what the final, published version will look like. Their field guide is a work-in-progress, as they’ll continue working on its creation into the winter and spring.  They will also continue their adventures in environmental education by meeting wildlife from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm to learn more about the connections between all organisms. In between their dedicated work on their field guide, we’ve led the students in fun activities and games such as environmental change charades, fall leaf relay races, and scavenger hunts.  We’ll continue having fun outdoors this spring with some maple sugaring around the school, as well as activities surrounding plant/animal growth and habitat investigations. Eventually they will present to their families and teachers what they’ve learned this year! 

McAuliffe Elementary- Fall 2015

       Third- and fourth- graders from the McAuliffe Elementary School have enjoyed activities and games that highlight the natural wonders of New England, as well as working on their science inquiry skills! This fall, the students have met some mice, a painted turtle, a groundhog, and a screech owl from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm. By observing these animals, students explored topics such as predator/prey relationships, winter survival, habitat components, and more. Students have had the opportunity to enjoy nature-themed children’s literature and have been trying their hand at writing their own stories about some of their wild guests! As the school year continues, they will discover how tracks and scat are important for identifying wildlife and even try some maple-sugaring. We’ll also explore what plants we can find during winter, food webs, pond life and more.

Spindle City Corps- Summer 2015

       Six Spindle City Corps (SCC) students, in partnership with Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust and Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, took on the task of completing multiple service learning projects at Hawk Valley Farm one very hot week in early August.  Some projects, such as removing invasive plants from the native walnut trees were deemed necessary due to the health and aesthetics of the trees.  Other, more creative and tangible projects, were all agreed upon by the students as improvements that would expand the overall positive farm experience for visitors as well as provide the students with fun and original projects that they could point to proudly and say, “I helped make that.” 

        Youth participated in a planning process this summer over multiple visits, discussed the feasability of their project ideas, considered the owner's priorities, and developed a supplies list and budget.  Overgrown, immoveable stumps became a safe play area for children.  This natural theme was expanded to create several stepping stone paths made from slices of tree trunks and imbedded into the existing trails while smaller tree stumps were placed along the trails for seating.  The youth designed a simple bench design from the logs of recently felled invasive trees, and Dave Melanson, a volunteer with a generous nature and a knack for wielding a chainsaw, carved their design in place.  Lastly, a child-friendly sign with accompanying signpost was created along with a fun summer scavenger hunt to encourage full exploration of the property.  The SCC students attached an information box to the signpost for Hawk Valley Farm brochures and for storing copies of the scavenger hunt.   A bird’s nest may be on the scavenger hunt but keep an eye out for a new birdhouse as well, an item the students added as a way to encourage the continuation of song birds making the farm their home.  

 Visit Hawk Valley Farm to check out their work!

PROGRAM SUMMARY & PHOTOS

Morey Elementary School - Fall 2014 & Winter 2015

    

At the C.W. Morey Elementary School, 3rd & 4th graders are diving into the wonderful ecological attributes the New England area has to offer. Students have visited with a number of wildlife such as a Cedar Waxwing and Canada goose to get a better understanding of animal adaptations, habitat needs, and physical characteristics of different species. Through hands on activities students have also been learning about weather and climate, animal and plant survival techniques during winter, healthy soil, and identifying clues left behind by animals in the form of tracks and scat.

Shaughnessy Elementary School - Fall 2014 & Winter 2015

Students at the Shaughnessy Elementary School, grades (1-4), are exploring the natural wonders of Lowell, spending time outdoors to get a breath of fresh air and check out habitats in the school yard. Utilizing journaling and sketching, students are documenting their keen observations of local flora and fauna and are learning the benefits of being a proficient observer and what it takes to be a scientist. This school year they have had wildlife visitors from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm including an American kestrel, Broad-winged hawk, Virginia opossum, Wood turtle, and Corn snake. Wildlife visits give students an opportunity to discuss how wildlife prepares and survive winter through the process of migration, hibernation, and staying active; vermicomposting/composting, how soil is created, and benefits of healthy and abundant soil; habitat components, importance of recognizing and protecting critical habitat components. Students enjoy spending time socializing with fellow classmates and becoming superb scientists!

Greenhalge Elementary School - Summer 2014

     The Trust and Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm in partnership with the City of Lowell Public Schools, developed a summer Service Learning Project focusing on ecosystems at both the Greenhalge & Shaughnessy Elementary Schools.  Students at Greenhalge explored the green space around their school and learned about the trees in the neighborhood.  After doing a bio blitz at the school, they went to Beaver Brook and the Merrimack River to explore the more expansive green spaces and make comparisons between the different habitats. 

Learn more about their work on the SuAsCo River Schools blog.

Shaughnessy Elementary School - Summer 2014

     Students at the Shaughnessy Elementary School explored wetland ecosystems for their service learning project.  Business leaders, city staff, UMass Lowell professors, and community activitists visited students in the classroom and in the field to explore the habitats found at East Pond and to learn about the community issues in the neighborhood.  Students decided to raise awareness of the pond and its important ecological value and they presented their findings to the City Council.  See photos of the event here.

Read more about their work on the SuAsCo River School blog.

Summer Compass Program 2014 - Lowell High School

     Rising 9th graders at the Summer Compass Program at Lowell High School learned about habitats, wildlife, stewardship, and homesteading through hands-on activities and experiments.  One highlight of the program was learning about the importance of trees in our communities.  Students met an American kestrel and screech owl and discussed trees as important components of a habitat.  In addition, students explored the many benefits of trees from shade, to stabilizing soil on river banks, to also understanding their role in the carbon cycle and the effects of climate change.  Students celebrated by planting a red maple tree to replace a tree in the school alley that had died.  In the fall, the tree will be utilized as a teaching tool to study phenology.

Spindle City Corps - Summer 2014

   Spindle City Corps is a summer youth program hosted in partnership with the Lowell National Historical Park and Community Teamwork, Inc. to provide the city’s youth with an opportunity to give back to their community.  The Trust and Mass Audubon Drumlin work with the Spindle City Corps members to learn about the diverse habitats and wildlife around the city and to also design, facilitate, and implement a stewardship project.

   This summer, students examined water quality in four separate locations.  Youth learned about the different factors that affect water quality, conducted several tests (including dissolved oxygen, ph, phosphate, nitrate), and identified macroinvertebrates to help determine the water quality.  The data collected will be shared on the River Schools blog.  In addition, youth collected an abandoned row boat out of the river!

   Spindle City Corps memebers also helped conduct a survey on the American eel population in partnership with the US Fish & Wildlife Service.  Pictured at left, youth are checking the "eel-avators".

 

Lowell High School Freshman Academy 2013- 2014

In its third year, students at Lowell High’s Freshman Academy are participating in a service-learning project raising two snapping turtles of a “head start” program.  Students received two turtles in the fall and under their care, the turtles (Beyonce and Squirtle) will grow in a protected environment.  Students have learned how to care for the turtles, observe their behavior, and monitor their growth.  Students have presented their work at the Brush Art Gallery's 'In Cold Blood Exhibit' (photo at left).  In the spring, the turtles will be released to their native habitat with an extra fighting chance to survive in the wild.

Youth have also identified a need to implement a bottles & cans recycling program in the school.  Students met with city's recycling coordinator to learn about the city's new single stream recycling program and learned about where our trash goes.  Students hosted an educational campaign for staff & students and also a recycling box design contest.  Youth in the program routinely manage the recycling program throughout the school and are incredibly proud of the work they've accomplished!

This is just a snapshot of the projects completed by the students at Freshman Academy.  Youth have explored the connections between the school and the community, improved the habitats found near the school, and become well spoken advocates for the important natural resources in Lowell.

Learning the carbon cycle Weighing turtles Recycling day!

Robinson Middle School 2013- 2014

Robinson Middle School students explored the school yard habitats, discovered what an animal needs to survive in its habitat, and investigated how native animals survive winter.  Students participated in stewardship projects to improve the schoolyard habitats which included trash pickups and planting annual bulbs in the rain garden.  Students had a special guest visitor talk about local food issues and were treated with  local sweet potatoes, carrots and candied apples. In the fall of 2013, students also measured temperature, leaf color change and leaf drop on two sugar maple trees weekly.  This data was collected and utilized in part of a larger Harvard Forest study.
Learning about wild & domestic animals Local Food Day Stewardship Clean Up

Stoklosa Middle School 2013-2014

Students at the Stoklosa Middle School have spent time learning, sharing, and thinking about where we live and how our connections to the world help shape the environment around us.  Youth are exploring what makes up a habitat and what we as humans, as well as our native wildlife here in Lowell, need in order to survive – shelter, food, and water.  Students have considered questions such as:

· How do both humans and our native wildlife meet our survival needs? 

· How does our need for resources affect an animal’s own habitat and resources?

· How have rivers helped shape the growth of Lowell as a city?

· How do we interact with local wildlife?

Students have gained confidence in studying nature and science, and over the course of the term their curiosity about the world around them has increased immeasurably.  Journals are used to record observations, ask questions and write down thoughts and ideas all of which, as the students have learned, contribute to ongoing citizen science projects.  This helps them improve their data collection, scientific and nature discovery, and observation skills.

Shaughnessy Elementary School 2013-2014

At the Shaughnessy Elementary School students are exploring habitats within their school grounds, looking for clues from animal activities (tracks, scat, and getting food).  Visits from a screech owl, a corn snake, a skunk, a Canadian Goose, and chickens have helped students learn about the differences between domestic and wild animals and native and invasive species.  As part of a citizen science project, students made winter bird feeders to take home or put in the school grounds.   A week later the children shared what visitors that came to their feeders - a list which included robins, sparrows, blue jays and cardinals!