The League’s Central New York Chapter is bringing environmental education to students through an annual outdoor learning program sponsored by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Last fall, more than 500 fifth- and sixth-graders from 12 central New York schools took part in the Environmental Field Days event, which offers hand-on environmental learning sessions focused on the science topics and requirements for students in these grades. League members provided sessions on aquatic ecology using information they have gathered while monitoring streams across central New York. “I explain how we go about collecting and identifying the ‘aquatic bugs’ and also describe how those stream inhabitants serve as valuable indicators of water quality conditions in their respective habitats,” says Les Monostory, who is president of the League’s New York Division and an officer for the Central New York Chapter.
Chapter member Tom Hughes is director of the nature and outdoor education programs offered by the Parks Department, and in this capacity he is administers the annual Environmental Field Days programs. The goal of Environmental Field Days is to educate students about the interrelationships among the physical and biological components of the environment as well as their role as stewards of these resources. Session topics range from recycling to fish identification. Students also interact with professionals from a variety of careers in the physical and biological sciences, which organizers hope may inspire youth to pursue studies in these areas.
“Several of our chapter members have served as instructors for the Environmental Field Days at Green Lakes State Park over the past 20 years,” continues Monostory. “It’s a great opportunity to teach youngsters in a beautiful park setting about the fish, game, water, and environmental resources that many can only read about in books or in a classroom.”