Ed Majors getting WET and WILD training
By Chrystal Houston
Professor Gail Miller is incorporating some unusual methods in her classroom to get her education students excited about teaching science. Sometimes they do animal role playing to lead to discussion about population and habitat changes. Sometimes they imagine hypothetical ecological situations such as: what if there were no trees? These outside the box ideas are part of Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), Project WILD, and Project Learning Tree, three national environmental education programs supported by the State Wildlife Agency.
The purpose of WET, WILD, and PLT is to get young people interested in nature through hands-on classroom experience. Miller says the programs are important, “to get kids excited about their world…and to get our pre-service teachers excited about science!” Miller says that many of her students initially dread science and would pass that along to their future pupils if she wasn’t there to intervene.
Recently, Miller was selected as one of 15 Nebraska educators invited to receive training as a PLT and WET facilitator. Once she completes the training, she will be certified to present their workshops. She may travel to other schools to present these materials, though Miller expects she will probably present primarily in her own classroom.
The PLT, WET, and WILD workshops for educators are 12 hours long and focus on creative ways teachers can get kids interacting with nature and becoming more aware of issues facing the natural world. Each participant is given a book of activity ideas to bring into their future classrooms.