While focused on wetlands, WOW! provides activities for use in teaching water quality, habitat, food chain, civic responsibility, urban planning, geology, chemistry and ecology. In addition, no expensive or technical equipment is required. Most activities utilise readily available household items such as strainers, panty hose, clay, sponges and the like making science and ecology accessible to all.
Environmental Concern is a public non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting public understanding and stewardship of wetlands through experiential learning, native species horticulture, and restoration and creation initiatives.
Environmental Concern is funded through a combination of means including:
Wetland construction project profits
Environmental Concern was founded in 1972 by Dr. Edgar Garbisch.
Overall, Environmental Concern employs 20 people divided amongst the three departments, construction, education and the nursery.
CEPA activities are managed through the education department under the leadership of the Education Director.
NURSERY: Environmental Concern is home to the first wholesale wetland plant nursery in the U.S. With 0.8 hectares ( two acres) of outdoor growing plants and 929 sq metres (10,000 sq. feet) of covered growing area including 2 glass and 8 poly-covered greenhouses, the nursery, on average, employs six to ten technicians, horticulturists and research interns, a majority of whom work full-time and year-round. Currently 110 species are available for wetland restoration, enhancement and construction projects
CONSTRUCTION: Environmental Concern has developed a series of wetland construction methodologies that are now employed by a host of organisations worldwide. Since its first effort in 1972, Environmental Concern has restored over 550 wetlands in 10 states, stabilized over 32 km (20 miles) of shorelines, planted numerous wildflower and native grass meadows and has removed countless acres of invasive species.
RESEARCH: Environmental Concern continues to fund research interns to help better understand wetland ecosystems.
EDUCATION: In the early years, the education department focused primarily on building the general capacity of wetland professionals. Some would call it crazy to train your competitors; EC called it the right thing to do.
It was simple; wetlands stood a better chance with more trained professionals in the field.
In addition to trainings, Environmental Concern has published several resource books including; A Comprehensive Review of Wetland Assessment Procedures, Evaluation for Planned Wetlands, Wetland Planting Guide for the North eastern United States, and the Do’s and Don’ts of Wetland Construction, that now form the cornerstone of any wetland professional’s resource library.
Realising the absence of wetland education/knowledge in schools, nature centres, zoos and the like, EC expanded its education offerings. With the development of WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands in 1991, Environmental Concern cemented its place as leader in wetlands education.
WOW! is 331 pages of resourceful and creative wetland activities, information and ideas.
Divided into two main sections, part one includes an extensive background section on wetlands while part two is home to over 40 activities in lesson plan format organised into five chapters, i.e. – Introduction to Wetlands, The Wetlands Community, The Role of Water in Wetlands, The Role of Soil in Wetlands, and Wetlands and People.
WOW! has become the most recognised and respected wetlands curriculum in the US and calls 27 additional nations home. In fact, the North American Association of Environmental Educators recently called WOW! “The most comprehensive introduction to wetland issues and definitions”.
Always moving forward, Environmental Concern continues to develop new and innovative education programs. Most recently the long-awaited companion curriculum to WOW! was launched. Based on over thirty years of field experience, POW!: The Planning of Wetlands is a series of 25 lessons that guides a class through the design, contruction, and monitoring of a wetland on school grounds.
Activities allow classes to survey their school grounds, calculate drainage area, create a water budget, design the wetland based on desired functions, choose appropriate native wetland vegetation, construct and plant the wetland, and monitor biological and chemical parameters of the finished habitat.
While resources for field trips continue to decrease, the addition of a schoolyard habitat may represent a students’ only interaction with the natural world. In addition, recent studies are concluding that campuses with SYH’s perform better on standardised tests than campuses devoid of such features.
Education leads to Understanding which leads to Appreciation which leads to Stewardship.
Formal (school and university) learning
Environmental Concern Inc offers a series of professional development opportunities for educators both on and off-site. The education department regularly travel throughout the world training educators how to incorporate wetlands into their curriculum. Environmental Concern is committed to creating user friendly classroom materials. This includes correlating the materials to National and state curriculum standards.
Environmental Concern is beginning to develop student-centric programming. This is beginning with our Junior WOW! Program scheduled to begin this September. Junior WOW! is a three-day training which not only teaches students about wetlands, but teaches these students how to teach their members of their community about wetlands utilizing activities from WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands. Participants will learn the ecology of wetlands through hands-on exploration of near-by wetlands and by doing a variety of activities which illustrate the various functions and values of wetland systems. The training culminates in presentations made by the students to an audience of their choosing.
Informal (general public) learning
Each year, Environmental Concern offers a series of educational and outreach programmes tailored to the immediate community, these include family wetland days, lecture series, shoreline tours, field explorations and travelling wetland displays.
Yes, we accept donations which are used to fund education and outreach efforts.
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