Getting The Nature Program Started in Your Community
To be successful in a community, the Nature Program needs:
Two Nature Program co-coordinators in each school organize the whole team effort. They recruit volunteers, identify funding sources, serve as program liaison with Four Winds and with school staff, delegate materials preparation, organize workshop schedule.
Volunteers lead workshops in pairs (or more) in classrooms. They attend monthly training sessions, work with their partner to plan their classroom visit, organize teaching materials they will use, and lead the classroom sessions with children. Volunteers dedicate roughly five hours per month to the program.
Classroom teachers welcome Nature Program volunteers into their classroom for about 1 ½ hours of student contact time each month. Principals appreciate the involvement of parents and community members in the school curriculum. School boards value the community support of the school and the volunteer hours dedicated to student achievement.
Program tuition covers the cost of trainings and materials. Many schools include the full cost of tuition in the school’s operating budget, recognizing that volunteers are already making a generous donation of time to the children in the community. Some Nature Program volunteers help raise separate funds for tuition expenses. We encourage schools to include at least 1/3 of the tuition in the school budget as a demonstration of support for the program and the program volunteers.
Four Winds provides monthly two-hour workshops for volunteers to prepare them for their classroom session. A Four Winds educator travels to each of our communities to present monthly workshops for school volunteers so volunteers are exploring nature in their own backyard and children are exploring nature in the schoolyard.
Four Winds provides curriculum and hard-to-find materials like beaver pelts, gall collections, deer antlers, etc. Volunteers are responsible for putting together each month’s teaching box with puppets, visual aids, activity materials, and easy to find natural history artifacts.