WCS Awarded US Department of Education Grant for Teacher Education Program

  • WCS joined by New York Botanical Garden and Lehman College on collaborative education program
  • More than $700,000 awarded to develop “Outside-the-Box” program that will better utilize zoos and botanical gardens for education
  • U.S. Reps. José E. Serrano and Joseph Crowley applaud educational collaboration

Bronx, NY – Nov. 12, 2010 – The Wildlife Conservation Society has been awarded a three-year grant in the amount of $714,649 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education to develop a new program that will engage living institutions like zoos and botanical gardens in the teacher preparation process.

The grant, known as “Outside-the-Box Professional Development: A Living Institution – University Model for Preparing Elementary Teachers in Science” will involved a collaboration among WCS the New York Botanical Garden and CUNY Lehman College. The new program will be fully integrated into a postsecondary teacher education program at Lehman College.

“The ‘Outside-the-Box’ program will help teachers to do great things in their classrooms to inspire and challenge children,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “I applaud the Department of Education for funding this unique partnership, and also congratulate the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, and Lehman College for their work to get this program up and running. Bronx youth will certainly benefit as their studies are enhanced by the great resources these institutions have to offer.”

Congressman Joseph Crowley said: “Time and time again, the Wildlife Conservation Society has proven its commitment to developing innovative programs that benefit the entire community. I congratulate them on this latest grant for an initiative that will set a new bar for postsecondary teacher development. It is clear that there needs to be a stronger focus on educating students in the sciences, especially in elementary schools. By educating teachers on how to take full advantage of two of the Bronx’s brightest gems – the zoo and the botanical garden – they can, in turn, better connect children to the real-life environmental challenges facing the world today. The Wildlife Conservation Society’s leadership in environmental education is just one of the many reasons for why I am such a strong supporter of the organization.” undefined

The program will be the first ever to involve a partnership involving a university, a botanical garden, and a zoo in the development of a broad course of study in teacher education. The program will be vastly different than the individual courses or workshop programs for teachers that most institutions currently provide. It will demonstrate how zoos, botanical gardens, and other living institutions can be used more effectively as primary training providers, partners, and motivators in the elementary teacher education process.

In addition, the program will involve the development of modules that will be integrated into a range of teacher education courses at Lehman. The program will lead to a Master of Science in education as well as teacher certification in childhood education (grades 1-6) with a sub-specialization in science education. undefined

“This grant is an important step toward the realization of a program that will take full advantage of zoos and botanical gardens for the educational resource they are,” said Don Lisowy, WCS’s Director of Education. “The ‘Outside-the-Box’ program will teach the next generation of educators the most effective use of these institutions. As participating teachers enter the workforce, they will be equipped with an understanding of the best ways to fully integrate living institutions into their science lessons.”

Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation.


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