My first classroom (as a teacher) was the Vassar Farm, a nature preserve across the street from Vassar College, where I was a student. Second grade students came for field trips to explore the beautiful deciduous forest. My favorite lesson involved letting students experiment with snails crawling on different surfaces. One day I managed to get 15 second graders to silently observe snails in their terrarium, sharing their observations afterward. That moment was magic--and I was hooked on teaching with, in, and about the natural world. Since then my "classrooms" have included a Girl Scout Camp in northern California, a beach in San Carlos, Mexico, Arizona Water Festival sites all over the state, and the Hassayampa River Preserve.
In 2006 I began a master's program at the University of Arizona with one goal in mind: To teach kids science outside. My program was called Teaching and Teacher Education, with an emphasis in Environmental Learning. That study brought one key idea into focus for me: Young people need exposure to science and the environment early and often in order to become the good environmental decision makers that the future of our planet requires. My work with Arizona Project WET gives me the opportunity to teach adults (classroom teachers and hundreds of wonderful, enthusiastic volunteers) how to better engage students in science and help them feel a connection to the natural world.
As Coordinator of the Water Investigations Program, I love that I am able to help teachers teach excellent science and then give students awesome experiences doing real science in some of our state's greatest places--rivers! I also enjoy working with our team in thinking about how to better evaluate what students are learning from our programs and developing a clearer understanding of how students think about water science.