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Natural science in another language

Veronica Whitney

Go on a field trip, discover the secret lives of wildlife and explore local geologic sites<all in Spanish.This summer, Spanish-speaking children in the valley have the chanceto participate in Bienvenidos a mi Patio Salvaje, or 3Welcome To My Wild Backyard, a natural science course for Spanish-speaking children entering grades 3 through 5.Thanks to a $35,000 matching grant from the Daniels Fund of Denver, the Gore Range Natural Science School will develop Spanish-language instruction materials, field guides and field research protocols, registration and evaluation materials, language courses for staff and translated options for the school1s Web site. The Science School has hired Jara Wind, previously a summer intern, to coordinate the Spanish-speaking project. Wind has a strong background in Spanish-language study and outdoor environmental education.3The course will help the children of our Spanish-speaking newcomers adjust to the daunting emotional, social and academic challenges they face, says Kim Langmaid, executive director of the Gore Range Natural Science School. 3We want to help people who speak Spanish make a stronger connection with the natural world in the mountain environment.Because the science school, a nonprofit based in Red Cliff, is the only organization that does this kind of field trips, Langmaid says she felt the need to incorporate Spanish-speaking instruction in the programs to fulfill the needs of a growing Hispanic population.3The course will include a different theme every day. The kids will learn about wildlife, geology, ecology and how to identify plants and animals in the area at field sites throughout the valley, she explains.So far, the school plans to take groups of 12 children. If there1s a greater demand, Langmaid says, the school plans to add more staff to the program.Since the science school got the grant in August, it has hired a Spanish-speaking staff member to translate its field journals, registration forms and to teach Spanish-speaking groups from Schools in Eagle County.The Gore Range Natural Science School also will offer the following programs throughout the summer:? Young Field Scientists, grades 1 and 2<This program is given in four sessions, including: 3wild mountain mammals; 3bugs, birds and bats; 3streambank, sleuthing and water-wading; and 3fossils, rocks and dinosaurs.? Science Discovery I, grades 3 and 4 and Science Discovery II, grades 5 and 6<The programs include 3stalking the wild mammals, 3creek critters and 3water waders.? Field Science for Young Women, grades 7 through 9<This program is based out the Shrine Mountain Inn, a mountain hut at Vail Pass. The girls spend a week together learning about the lives of female scientists and participating in a field research project with the forest service and also learn how to identify Rocky Mountain flora and fauna.? High School Natural Science II, grades 9 through 10<Students who complete this field course are eligible to earn a year1s worth of sophomore science credit from their high school? Teacher workshops<This program includes a naturalist1s retreat for teachers, geology for elementary school teachers and geology for middle- and high-school teachers.? Adult Natural History Seminars<Topics include the night sky, the mining history of Leadville, and Alpine ecology.Other programs include the Nature Discovery Center, School Group and Custom Programs, and Youth Conservation Corps.Nature in Spanish? Welcome to my Wild Backyard Day Camp, a natural science course for Spanish-speaking children, will take place July 22 through 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.? A $25 deposit, refundable upon the completion of the course, is required.? Space is limited to 12 participants.? To register, call 970 827-9725 ext.10, 16 or 17.Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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