Developing Environmental Stewards

Common Ground Relief has educated tens of thousands of students in environmental science and stewardship through experiential learning in frontline Southeast Louisiana wetlands and at the Native Plant Nursery and Cabane Coypu Learning Facility. In 2019, Common Ground Relief launched Developing Environmental Stewards with the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans in order to develop and implement in-classroom curriculum alongside experiential environmental science.

Significant evidence points to the benefits of environmental education that combines scientifically-sound instruction with experiential activities. Studies show that a combination of knowledge-based learning and field-based activities are most effective in fostering lifelong environmental stewardship and resiliency. Also, youth who participate in meaningful environmental education exhibit stronger personal relationships to nature and are more likely to express the need to protect nature, both as children and adults.

Developing Environmental Stewards created and piloted lessons and activities targeted towards grade 5 students in 2019 – 2020, and plans to develop a grade 9 curriculum in the 2021 – 2022 academic year:

The program content incorporates best practices of student-centered place-based inquiry learning, citizen science, and the four pillars of meaningful watershed educational experiences: issue definition, outdoor field experience, synthesis and conclusions, and stewardship actions. Lessons and activities also align with Louisiana Standards for Science and Social Studies, as well as the cultural context and capacity of local New Orleans schools.

Please reach out to wetlands@commongroundrelief.org if you would like support implementing the curriculum and complementary field trips for your students!