For two consecutive years, Akron Public Schools has partnered with Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Conservancy to establish a summer school program focused on environmental education. Students worked with park rangers, conservancy staff, and C-TAG program specialists to complete an interactive, hands-on curriculum about storm water runoff. (Check out the blog about the Environmental Education Academy.) Seasonal excursions to the valley continued throughout the year to keep the students connected to the park.
Our spring, and final, excursion in the park was a blast! Nearly 30 students joined C-TAG specialists and CVEEC staff for an Amazing Race Challenge. Given a map, GPS, and rhyming clues, students divided into four teams and raced from the EEC to the covered bridge and back. Along the way, each group completed teambuilding challenges in order to receive their next clue.
Though the challenges were tough and required superb teamwork and communication skills, each team successfully completed the tasks. Challenges included constructing a team flag, walking on plank boards from one end of the trail to the other, piecing together a bouncy ball pipeline, and lining up silently in order of team members’ birthdays, among others. In addition, each team trekked up and down the giant log stairs on the covered bridge trail. Each of the four teams did an incredible job completing their challenges and everyone made it back to the center for lunch.
In the afternoon, students met with their respective C-TAG specialists to set academic goals for the remainder of the school year. We ended the day by roasting marshmallows to make s’mores. A fun time was had by all.
This program is made possible by the generous donations of the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and the National Park Foundation.
We look forward to hosting our third Environmental Education Academy summer school program with Akron Public Schools this June.