Wiscasset, Maine. The Onion Foundation has awarded Chewonki a $15,000 grant to support an initiative to integrate citizen science into place-based science education at Chewonki and in nearby public schools.
“We are very grateful to the Onion Foundation for this great opportunity to link Chewonki educators, local teachers, and students in field-based research,” says Keith Crowley, director of education partnerships at Chewonki. “Citizen science as a framework for high-quality education offers many benefits. This project will increase students’ and teachers’ sense of place and cultivate recognition that field research is an essential piece of environmental knowledge.”
With the grant, Chewonki educators and science teachers from Regional School Unit 1 (Bath and surrounding towns) and the Wiscasset School Department will collaborate in creating an ongoing, place-based, citizen research project to engage students in real science and the local ecosystem.
Chewonki is planning to bring its own science teachers together with those from neighboring public schools to choose a data-driven research project. The project will require students and teachers to immerse themselves in the ecological community around them and engage in authentic research that could be useful to more comprehensive, professional, scientific research.
Potential areas of focus include monitoring migratory bird patterns, exploring the impact of microplastics in the marine environment, and aquaculture activities in local habitats.
“This work will highlight local ecological features and demonstrate connections between what students discover around them and global environmental issues,” Crowley says. He hopes middle and high school science teachers will integrate the project work directly into their curricula.
The Onion Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation based in Auburn, Maine. The foundation’s mission is “To encourage conservation and stewardship of the natural environment and promote music and the arts in the state of Maine.” Learn more about the Onion Foundation at: https://www.onionfoundation.org/