Thanks to a grant from the Dorr Foundation and the advocacy of State Senator Michael Nozzolio, the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) has been able to assist regional school districts in getting their science classrooms out in the field to visit the wonderful New York State Parks in the Finger Lakes region.
The Auburn Citizen recently ran a feature article on one of the field trip experiences. Union Springs Middle School teacher Roberta Palmiotto and her colleague John Murphy were participants in the FLI‘s “My Place in the Finger Lakes” program, which was designed to help teachers introduce topics about the Finger Lakes environment. This year’s theme, according to the article, was the “geology of state parks.”
In the Citizen article, Sheila Myers, the education outreach coordinator of the FLI at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, explains the significance of the program and its place within New York State curriculum requirements: “I think it’s important because so much of earth sciences is a requirement in ninth grade, and now in eighth we’re talking about the geology we have right here. They can take kids out to see actual geological concepts that they are learning in the classroom. It gives students context in their science education, and that’s what My Place in the Finger Lakes is all about.”
The full text from The Citizen follows.
Getting the dirt
Alyssa Sunkin • June 11, 2009
While earthquakes are not common in this area of the country, one local middle school teacher asked her students to find evidence in a Moravia state park of the Earth’s tectonic plates shifting.
Hiking through the woods at Fillmore Glen State Park during a class trip last Friday, Union Springs Middle School eighth-grade science teacher Roberta Palmiotto asked her students to look for fractures in different rock layers that are indicative of Earth’s plates moving.
“One thing I really wanted them to learn is about Fillmore Glen being in our backyard,” Palmiotto said. “Most of my students had been there many times, but hadn’t looked closely at the rock structures or at how plants grow. I wanted them to go back with their families and point out some of these features to them.”
This is exactly the point of the field trip, which is part of a program offered by Hobart and William Smith Colleges and funded by the Dorr Foundation and the advocacy of state Sen. Michael Nozzolio.
Established in 2004, the Finger Lakes Institute’s My Place in the Finger Lakes program encourages teachers to develop lesson plans about the local environment. The organization hosts a summer session each year, during which time a handful of teachers can get experience in the program. Teachers then have to develop plans based upon the material, and the FLI provides a grant for a field trip with students.
The theme for this year’s program was the geology of state parks, education outreach coordinator Sheila Myers said. Thirteen teachers from Rochester to Skaneateles participated in the program, which included travel to various state parks across the area.
Myers said the materials these teachers brought back to their students is not just important given state education requirements.
“I think it’s important because so much of earth sciences is a requirement in ninth grade,” she said, “and now in eighth we’re talking about the geology we have right here. They can take kids out to see actual geological concepts that they are learning in the classroom. It gives students context in their science education, and that’s what My Place in the Finger Lakes is all about.”
Staff writer Alyssa Sunkin can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 239 or email@example.com