Syracuse City Schools Collaborate Through Baltimore Woods Partnership

Nottingham High School students who are part of the school’s Natural Resources pathway will visit Elmwood Park on May 31, where they will help Nature in the City educators from Baltimore Woods lead Franklin Elementary third graders in hands-on science lessons and exploration in nature.

The partnership between Nottingham’s Natural Resource Career and Technical Education (CTE) students and Baltimore Woods Nature Center developed as a way to help expose the high school students to possible careers in Environmental Education; as well as to provide opportunities for outreach where they could help younger students make a connection to their local environment. Many of these students experienced Nature in the City during elementary school and are now excited to return to the outdoor classroom to practice the skills they have learned in their stream quality and ecology unit.

On May 31, students will be in the stream at Elmwood Park looking for macroinvertebrates to identify and help evaluate the overall water quality. In addition to helping the younger students collect data to determine the overall quality of their local stream, they will also support the local Connect the Drops initiative by helping to clean up trash in the park to keep it out of waterways.

The stream exploration is the final, culminating lesson in a three-part series sponsored by Onondaga County Save the Rain. Third grade Nature in the City lessons are designed to teach students about water quality and the effects of pollution on local waterways and Onondaga Lake.

Since 2002, the Nature in the City program has delivered interactive lessons and activities that provide students with direct experiences in nature.

“After 16 years, the mission of Nature in the City is being fully realized as collaborative projects, like the Nottingham – Franklin Stream Exploration project, emerge,” Baltimore Woods Nature Center Executive Director Whitney Lash-Marshall said. “These projects really show how this natural science programming helps inspire Syracuse City School District students and alumni to become active, engaged adult environmental stewards.”

Nature in the City is a successful working example of a community-wide collaboration. By participating in outdoor activities in and around their schools, students develop stronger ties to their own community and a sense of stewardship for the nature that thrives there. Taught in all K-6th grade classrooms in Syracuse City elementary schools, the program is funded in part by the Syracuse City School District with support from dozens of local corporations, organizations and individuals across Central New York.