The Madison Audubon Society recently announced their latest Prairie Conservation Education Grants award winners. This program supports innovative conservation education efforts in area schools. Two DeForest area teachers are the most recent recipients of our Prairie Conservation Education Grants:
Amy Williams (pictured left with Brianna Duran, Madison Audubon Conservation Education Coordinator, right), is a 1st/2nd grade teacher at Eagle Point Elementary School. She teamed up with Matt Giovanni, a wildlife biologist and the founding director of the American Kestrel Partnership, to design a project for her classroom. With this grant, her students will learn about local birds and will plant a sunflower garden to attract birds to DeForest. They will also build, mount, and monitor kestrel-nesting boxes to put up in the surrounding area. In the spring, the students will also take a field trip to our Goose Pond Sanctuary to explore habitat, prairies, and wildlife. Through this project, students will learn much about bird conservation and the importance of citizen science.
Julie Harrier, a 1st/2nd grade teacher at Morrisonville Elementary School, (pictured above with students) also received a grant. She hopes students will gain an understanding of grassland habitats and the need for habitat restoration. With this funding, all the students at the school will be taking a field trip this spring to our Goose Pond Sanctuary to learn about wetlands and prairie habitats and prairie restoration. This grant allows the school to purchase binoculars and nature notebooks so students can record their observations. In the fall, students will take another trip to Goose Pond Sanctuary to gather prairie seeds. Once gathered, students will use these seeds to reseed and restore the original prairie habitat of the DeForest School District’s Big Hill Environmental Learning Center.
This year, the Prairie Conservation and Education grants are primarily focused on schools located near our Faville Grove and Goose Pond sanctuaries. After this pilot year, we hope to expand the Prairie Conservation Education Grants program to include more school districts. Thank you to these hard-working teachers for their commitment to conservation! We look forward to more opportunities to enrich environmental education in area schools.