The Leaf Pack Network is an initiative of Stroud™ Water Research Center. The Stroud Center seeks to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education, and watershed restoration.

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Linking Kids to Their Environment and Community

Forest Grove Community School is a special place — a public charter school in Oregon where student projects are connected to both community and place, and where hands-on experience is considered the best way to learn. In this kind of environment, it’s not surprising that a group of fourth, fifth and sixth graders equipped with the Leaf Pack Experiment Kit could have an impact on a community — or that nine to twelve year old kids could be enthralled by nature and connected to their environment, at a time when “nature deficit disorder” has become a part of the daily lexicon.

Charlie Graham teaches all subjects, including science, at Forest Grove Community School. By all accounts he’s no ordinary teacher. After 20-years in the public school system, his enthusiasm for this charter school and his students is palpable. He takes his job seriously and gets genuine enjoyment from watching his students connect the dots and understand their relationship to the environment. So, it’s no wonder that he is a fan of the Leaf Pack Experiment Kit. “I love that it provides an authentic learning experience,” he said, “and exposes my students directly to the scientific process.” An added benefit is the validation that comes with uploading and sharing data with other schools around the world through the web-based Leaf Pack Network®.

Read more in UpStream Newsletter, Summer 2009.