May has already brought four exciting events for the Teacher Learning Center: a meeting with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, a teacher workshop at the Murie Center, and outreach programs with 157 students at four schools in Teton Valley, Idaho and Lander, Wyoming.

On Tuesday, May 3, Governor Matt Mead announced the results and release of the Our Children and the Outdoors: Wyoming Survey 2010 at a press conference in Cheyenne. Jack Shea, Doug Wachob and I had the opportunity to attend and speak with the Governor about the good news in the survey – Wyoming kids spend more time outside than the national average. Governor Mead spoke about the importance of making sure Wyoming kids continue to have opportunities to continue spending time outside. Director of Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Milward Simpson discussed the easy access Wyoming residents have to public lands that should make it easy to continue Wyoming’s leadership in this area. For the report on the Our Children and the Outdoors: Wyoming Survey 2010, click here.

The second installment of the Place-Based Education teacher workshop was held from May 5-8 at the Murie Center. Twelve teachers from Victor, Idaho, Saratoga, Encampment, and Lander, Wyoming attended to continue conversations and planning efforts begun during the fall workshop. Teacher participants toured the Jackson Campus and Journeys School, participated in service learning and science inquiry projects, explored their personal connection to place, and planned for the implementation of place-based education back in their home schools. A highlight of the workshop was the return of Janet Wragge and Debbie LaChance, teachers from Oregon Trail Elementary School in Casper, WY who attended the 2009-10 Place-Based Education workshop series, to discuss how place-based education has impacted the community at their school.

During the week of May 9-13, the Teacher Learning Center ran outreach programs in Driggs and Victor, Idaho and in Lander, Wyoming. The program for 5th graders at Driggs and Victor Elementary Schools focused on fire ecology and included a field trip to Teton Canyon. The fire ecology program is funded by a grant in partnership with Grand Teton National Park to teach children in the Greater Yellowstone area about fires and fire management. The programs in Lander, Wyoming spanned two elementary schools and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade students. All students had an opportunity to travel to a local outdoor space in Lander and explore the natural world in greater depth.

May has already brought great success for the Teacher Learning Center, and we look forward to the rest of the year bringing more!