2012 | The Greening of Detroit Funding will support a new project called Our LAND (Learn, Admire, Nurture, Dream), providing 250 Detroit 5th-6th grade students with programming to build the urban children’s connection with nature. Our LAND will be conducted at ten schools, and offer classroom sessions and field trips to Detroit’s largest park, Rouge Park. At 125 acres, Rouge Park contains a native prairie and grassland, wetland plant and animal habitats, forests, an interpretive tree trail, playscapes, picnic areas, and miles of pathways. Each field trip will include both hands-on learning activities and unstructured time for students to explore and reflect, and field trips will be held yearlong to allow participants to see seasonal changes in the park. Project activities, designed using curriculum from Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum, Earth Partnerships for Schools, and the U.S. Forest Service’s “Discover Your Forest,” will encourage teachers and students to engage in the same lessons at their school classrooms after their field experiences, helping students make connections between Rouge Park and their own neighborhood. A uniformed Forest Service educator also will visit each classroom to help students connect their local environment with the national forests. In addition to these activities, students will be able to explore the impacts humans have on ecosystems and ways to improve these interactions by assisting in the planning and implementing of a service learning project (one per class) at Rouge Park, which may include invasive species removal or a prairie planting. Finally, The Greening will provide four take home activities to engage students’ families and gain interest and support for the stewardships projects at Rouge Park. Project staff will meet regularly with teachers to ensure a collaborative relationship, and will provide training and resources to support projects and help teachers lead lessons in field.
See the program in action in this video.