STEAM in the Park–Acadia NP July 2022
Guest Post by Kirsten Schultz (Olinsky)
Being an educator is never easy…and these past few years have been an adverse experience for many of us…thanks, COVID.
This past July, I attended a fully immersive educator experience with Dacia and Steve Jones in Acadia National Park that was desperately needed. It was a gorgeous retreat for those of us rapidly burning out, and was the perfect mix between learning, getting motivated for another year, and relaxing. We had time to meet new educators (and future friends) from all over the
US. I saw educators from all over the country come together and share their experiences and support each other….not only making educational connections but personal ones, too. We hiked, explored, rested, and ate to our hearts’ content. We were challenged with poetry, outdoor, and STEAM lessons to use with our students. We learned quick games, songs, and outdoor activities to help our students find STEAM relevant and engaging.
Each day started with delicious, locally sourced meals before experiencing lessons knee-deep in the coastal waters of Maine tracking invasive species and focusing on UN Goal Number 14: Life Below Water. We learned why certain species have become invasive in the local waters and how it’s affecting local jobs and ecosystems. These experiences, coupled with our reinvigorated brains, boosted ideas of how to get our students out into the community and environment. The park rangers’ attitudes about education, skills, ideas, and activities were enlightening. Just off of one wonderfully detailed interactive map skill activity from Ranger Kate, there were dozens of ideas flying for the next few days from the educators of how it could be adapted to primary and secondary classrooms.
The entire experience was invigorating, encouraging, and enlightening. Want an experience to revive your love and reason for teaching AND to get refreshed? I would recommend STEAM in the Park to anyone working in the education field.