PrestonMiddle School 6th-grade students are learning about and improving wildlife habitat in their 3,000+ acre science classroom located at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch west of Loveland, Colorado. International Telementor Program Founder and Director David Neils arranged for northern Colorado students participating in ITP to use the ranch to conduct real experiments that impact Colorado’s wildlife. Wildlife management professionals are assisting the students with research through ITP’s secure online messaging system.
They built wildlife guzzlers and set up motion-triggered cameras to record activity at the site and gather data. (Watch some of the footage they captured!) They also partnered with natural resources professionals to help them with the data collection methodology and analysis.
To determine the effectiveness of students’ real-world work on their academic achievement, Chance W. Lewis, Ph.D., the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair of Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, surveyed teachers, mentors and students involved in Preston’s Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project.
“[A]fter evaluating the teacher, mentor and student survey responses from 2010-2012 for this specific program, it appears that the ITP program has been highly successful in assisting students to become more ‘proactive learners.’ With a large number of teachers, mentors and students involved in this program, all data indicates that this program is doing very well in relation to impact on student growth,” Lewis said.