Educators from Headwaters and Delta Gather in St. Bernard Parish
Dozens of educators from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota and the delta in Louisiana are in St. Bernard Parish for the second annual Waters to the Sea® Mississippi River Delta Institute presented by the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation on June 13-15, 2016. The program is a field-based professional development workshop designed to inspire, educate and prepare 3rd-8th grade teachers to engage students in STEM disciplines through experiential, inquiry-based investigations at local watersheds.
“We are thrilled to welcome educators to St. Bernard to learn ideas for incorporating river systems into their class lessons,” said Chris Haines, a board member of the Meraux Foundation, who first experienced Waters to the Sea® programming in Minnesota four years ago. “The Mississippi River Delta Institute, now in its second year, is positioning St. Bernard as a center for education on coastal and river issues.”
The Meraux Foundation committed a $100,000 donation to support the Waters to the Sea® Mississippi River Delta Educational Initiative for three years in St. Bernard Parish. A $90,800 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underwriting the participation of 20 teachers from south Louisiana.
The Mississippi River Delta Institute is a component of Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education’s (CGEE) Waters to the Sea® program, which is a national initiative to develop a community of water educators. The program in St. Bernard is being coordinated by Dinah Maygarden of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans in partnership with Gena Asevado, a curriculum liaison from St. Bernard Parish Public Schools, Jennifer Roberts, a liaison from the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, the Meraux Foundation, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and CGEE.
St. Bernard offers the perfect setting for studying water systems, including port structures, wetlands, commercial fishing, water management infrastructure, and natural beauty. The field-based courses will explore the natural overlap between science and other subjects using rivers as the context. The courses included a host of activities in St. Bernard and the surrounding area.
Educational workshops will be held at the Arlene Meraux River Observation Center at the Meraux Foundation’s Docville Farm campus in Violet and other locations across St. Bernard.