Introducing Deschutes Children’s Forest Teacher of the Month! This award recognizes teachers in Central Oregon who demonstrate initiative, creativity, and innovation for bringing their classroom learning outside.
Congratulations to January’s Teacher of the Month, Dave Dallas, 3rd grade teacher at Amity Creek Elementary! Dave was nominated for his amazing efforts in bringing his students outside. So far this school year, Dave has organized many field trips for his students, both in Amity Creek’s backyard and to destinations such as Crater Lake. Students have learned about their local water source at Skyliner Lodge, learned about the habitat of the Clark’s Nutcracker at Crater Lake, conducted riparian studies and macroinvertebrate sampling at Drake Park, and done a sit spot at the Environmental Center. Dave has several more outdoor activities planned for the rest of the school year including trips to Mount Bachelor, Oregon Gardens, Wychus Creek, and a return trip to Crater Lake. His class will also revisit Drake Park and McKay Park several times through the seasons to do follow-up studies on the water quality of the Deschutes River. Wow!
Why does Dave bring his students outside? “I believe that if students have a chance to go outside they have a chance to relate to what they are learning and make connections to the environment around them. Additionally, I believe that students remember these connections when they revisit these areas and are able to apply what they have learned to new environments. They are more able to make comparisons and generalizations, and begin to understand how things fit together and rely upon one another, be it the water cycle, a food chain, or man-made versus natural environments.”
“I hope that the Deschutes Children’s Forest will not only provide opportunities for all Bend-La Pine students to ‘get outside’ but also provide teachers with assistance, materials, ideas, and support, to make science come alive. I also hope that it will allow teachers that lack the confidence to do a field study or an outdoor classroom to become more comfortable with science. I also hope that administrators, teachers, and parents will understand the wonderful natural resources that surround us and that can serve as starting points for wonderful teaching and learning opportunities.” -Dave Dallas, 3rd grade teacher
Deschutes Children’s Forest would like to thank Dave for his passion and motivation for providing opportunities for his students to learn and explore outside. Dave participated in the Sustainability and Environmental Education Development Series (SEEDS), a three day workshop series offered through a partnership with The Environmental Center, Oregon Natural Resources Education Program (ONREP), and the Deschutes Children’s Forest. According to Dave, the SEEDS training “allowed me the chance to work with various scientific instruments, learn how to conduct studies, and gain the confidence to be able to conduct an outdoor field study.” He has utilized Project Wild and Project Learning Tree throughout the year and will continue to do so in the coming months. Thanks Dave!