Last week marked the finale of a yearlong environmental program for Jackson Hole and Wilson second grade students. The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and the National Elk Refuge coordinated the Nature of Learning program.
The program consisted of three field trips, as well in-class lessons. It was designed to teach children how animals in nature change over time, as well as applying an art, photography, and journaling component.
Lori Iverson, the outdoor recreation coordinator for the National Elk Refuge, said the children spent the year studying bison, elk, and birds. They were also able to observe coyotes and bald eagles.
While in the classroom, second graders were learning how to sketch with different shades and shapes that they could use to record their observations while in the field.
The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival provided the students with digital cameras throughout the year. “[The cameras] provided in classroom and in field training on basic photographic and journalistic techniques,” said Lisa Samford, executive director of the JH Wildlife Film Festival.
“The art component of the program was a huge part of it,” Iverson said. “[Students] were able to compare and contrast their observations through journal entries where they were able to practice how to express their feelings.”
“Along with learning how things change over time, observing the elk made clear the themes of migration, adaptation and winter hibernation,” Iverson explained.
“Parents are always appreciative mostly because they wish they had been exposed to this kind of program when they were this age,” said Iverson.
This program was funded by a grant from National Fish & Wild, as well as Wyoming Arts Council, the National Endowment for Arts, Town and County Arts for All and the Looker Family Foundation.