Date of Completion

Spring 5-25-2016

Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter J. Taylor

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. http://scholarworks.umb.edu/engage

Abstract

This thesis project, composed of a product and a paper, addresses the 185-acre Garrison School Forest owned by the Garrison School, a public K-8 school in Garrison, New York. The Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) proposes to purchase conservation rights from the school district to preserve the school forest in perpetuity. The HHLT proposal includes a gift of 100 acres of adjacent land that affords easier, safer access to the school forest. The thesis product is www.gufsee.org, a 52-page environmental education website created to provide teachers with resources to help them teach in the school forest on Forest Fridays. The website’s audience also includes students, parents, and the greater community. The website presents lesson plans, guidelines on teaching outdoors, and information about the school’s environmental education programs. It offers a wealth of resources on animals, citizen science, climate change, geography, geology, the Hudson River, local conservation history, local folklore, nature’s benefits for children, local Revolutionary War history, trees and forests, and more. The website incorporates photographs, videos, audio recordings, maps, and illustrations. The paper is written for graduate students who are planning their thesis projects. The paper describes processes that the author employed to create the website, including: action research, reflection, metacognition, and creative thinking. The paper also outlines the website’s intended purposes. The paper contains nine chapters: “Introduction,” “Orientation to the Location,” “The Situation,” “My Synthesis Project,” “Rationale for My Engagement,” “The Process,” “Taking Myself Seriously,” “Next Steps,” and “Conclusion.” It outlines nine goals for the synthesis project: to share resources to help the school’s teachers learn how to teach outdoors, to share examples of lessons that may be taught in the school forest, for teachers to use these resources and teach in the school forest regularly, for teachers to begin sharing stories about their experiences on the website’s Forest Fridays blog, for the website to play a part in persuading the school board to accept the HHLT proposal, to share stories of New York’s Hudson Highlands with the greater community, to use the website as a portfolio piece to assist in the author’s job search, to identify the author’s vocation through this project, and to assist future students in creating their own transformative synthesis projects.

Share

COinS