19-10-09 ARTS Sci After School.jpg

Students learn about nature in the great outdoors as part of the ERC’s Science After School series.

The summer has finally and properly ended and the 2019-20 school year is now in full swing, molding young minds and plying them with facts and figures, but there is no need for education to be confined to the classroom.

The Environmental Resource Center, which has its headquarters on Washington Avenue in Ketchum, is taking the mission of educating Wood River youth beyond chalkboards and books with another iteration of its annual Science After School program series.

The ERC has offered this popular recurring program for local schoolchildren for more than a dozen years, leading groups of students on excursions and adventures into the rich and diverse natural world of the Wood River Valley.

The first session of the autumn Science After School series will take place next Tuesday, Oct. 15, for fourth- and fifth-grade students of the Hemingway STEAM School. The program will repeat every Tuesday for six weeks, running after school from 2:30-

4 p.m.

On Thursdays, from Oct. 17 to Nov. 21, the ERC will offer mirror programs for Bellevue Elementary School students. Alturas and Hailey Elementary School students will have the opportunity to take part in Science After School later in the academic year.

Preregistration for these programs is required and space is limited. Ideally, registrants will take part in all six after-school sessions.

The primary objective of the educational series is to foster a love of and reverence for the natural world in local youth, promoting values of respect and fascination for the environment and helping to raise the next generation of ecologically responsible citizens.

“The ERC’s an environmental education organization at its core. Science After School aims to have participants explore the natural world through field trips, games, lessons, journalism and more,” ERC Program Director Alisa McGowan said. “Science After School gives students the opportunity to interact with the natural world outdoors.”

All the weekly programs will focus on the themes of plant and animal adaptations. Participating children will explore how the naturally occurring flora and fauna of the Wood River Valley have adjusted to the growing human presence, changes in the climate, threats to their habitats and more.

Though that theme is more or less locked in, McGowan said she likes to really get to know the students and—like the animals adapting to their circumstances—let their interests guide and influence the Science After School focus when appropriate.

“Kids are innately curious, and we provide an opportunity for them to exercise that sense of curiosity and hopefully turn it into a love for the natural world,” she said.    

All Science After School sessions are offered free of charge. To register a student, contact McGowan by email at alisa@ercsv.org or by phone at 208-726-4333.

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