Thank you to all who attended our 2019 Earth Day Conference – check back for the 2020 date!
Conference Schedule: (subject to change)
8:30AM – 9:00AM Registration
9:00AM – 10:00AM Welcome & Keynote Speech
10:15AM – 11:15AM Sharpe Workshops
11:15AM – 12:00PM Lunch (provided)
12:15PM – 3:30PM Training Workshops
3:30PM – 4:15PM Make & Take Hall
4:15PM – 4:30PM Raffle Drawing & Closing Remarks
Sharpe Workshops (10:15AM – 11:15AM)
Bird Study (Ornithology): This class introduces students to the birds that inhabit our forests. Bird adaptations, feeding patterns, identifying features, migration, and bird fun facts will be included, as well as the use and care of binoculars, basic bird songs and calls, and field observation.
Interpretive Hike: A basic nature interpretive hike up one of the Hudson Highland mountains at Sharpe Reservation. Students will overlook a part of the Hudson Valley and learn about wildlife, forest ecology and geology along the way.
Orienteering: The use of maps and compass skills are explored in this lesson. Students will get a lesson in map reading, then put their skills to the test by navigating their way through a course set up throughout camp. Basic compass use may be taught to help students navigate the maps, based on student age and skill level.
Pond Study: Water is essential to all life on Earth. Students will discover the interdependence of living things as they search for myriad life forms in our ponds or streams. Water’s physical characteristics as they relate to the health of the pond or stream community will be highlighted.
Worm Ecology: Decomposers are fundamentally important to a functional food web. This class will explore the purpose and role of decomposers in the environment. We will examine Sharpe Reservation’s vermicomposting system to get a close-up look at how earthworms create soil.
Training Workshops (12:15PM – 3:30PM)
Gain a deep understanding of Astronomy concepts through hands-on immersion and kinesthetic learning. Beginning our session “under the dome” of the planetarium participants will learn astronomy concepts and how to teach and interpret them.
We will use the Planetarium and telescope-less observational techniques, immersive experiences, fun activities, and body movements to explore the fundamentals of observational astronomy, a very brief history of astronomy, the change from geocentric to heliocentric models, scale models and the future of astronomy,
Participants will learn about the Earth, Moon, Sun, Planets, Stars, and Galaxy relationships with an emphasis on linking to concepts in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Connecticut and P12-Science Learning Standards (NYSP12-SLS) for New York.
Participants will engage in a series of learning experiences and leave with a new way to bring enriching astronomy insights to the next generation of students.
Engaging with Invasive Species
Join us as we embark on a citizen science adventure to discover the impact of invasive species on our forested landscape. The Fresh Air Fund is a member of the Lower Hudson PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) a group that is focused on dealing with invasive species in our region. Techniques and ideas will be shared for engaging students in nature through invasive species management. Attendees will learn about and identify common invasive plants and how they are impacting our forest. Taking a citizen science approach, we will do some monitoring and reporting using a program called i-naturalist. The training will culminate at The Kathryn A. Park Adele Leavitt Wildlife Refuge where a 10-year project is underway to reestablish native plants in a 9-acre area once planted with all invasive species. Here we will do a sampling community service project by doing an invasive plant removal and a native tree planting to commemorate Earth Day.
In a world over-filled with plastics, in our homes, schools, water ways and forests we’ll explore ways to start making small steps to saving our planet. In the Plastics Lab we’ll explore Reducing, Reusing and Upcycling Plastics. We’ll be diving into the basic science of plastics and using that knowledge and everyday household tools to melt, twist, and reshape bottles, bags, takeout containers and cotton material into new usable items. Become a 2019 Sharpe Plastic Reducer as you walk away with project ideas and knowledge of companies and products available to make a difference.
Make and Take Hall (3:30PM – 4:15PM)
Join us to wrap up the day in the Dining Hall where you will have the opportunity to create one or more projects. Learn the basic techniques for the project, discuss the history or origin and take a finished project with you. Each station will have directions on the activity to take with you to make more on your own. We’ll have a variety of projects like bird houses, paper making and recycled art, projects will vary from 10-30 minutes for completion so you’ll have time to mix and mingle, visit our Partner display tables and make and take.