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Green from the Get Go Wheeler’s Long term Commitment to Environmental Education.

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1 Green from the Get Go Wheeler’s Long term Commitment to Environmental Education

2 While many schools are just jumping on the green bandwagon, Wheeler’s commitment to environmental education has been long and deep. Maybe it dates back to our founder’s vision to create a city campus and a country campus, but nature study and environmental education have been embedded in the curriculum long before it was fashionable.

3 Since 1997, the first graders have spent a week in the fall attending class at The Wheeler Farm. They immerse themselves in nature while learning. The sit quietly in the woods while writing in a natural history journal, learn to group by 100’s by collecting and sorting acorns and delve deeply into fantasy play by making fairy houses with found objects. First Grade Week at the Wheeler Farm

4 Here, first graders build fairy houses after spending time using their senses and writing in journals.

5 Fifth Grade trip to the Farm School in Athol, Mass. Since 1998, our fifth graders have spent a week in the spring living and working on a real New England dairy farm. They plant crops, make meals, care for farm animals, cut wood and spend time outdoors.

6 Here, fifth graders do afternoon chores such as feeding the pigs and cutting wood for the stove.

7 Sixth Grade Farm Program at The Wheeler Farm In 2004, Wheeler inaugurated a unique program for sixth graders at the Wheeler Farm. In the Farm Program 6th grade homerooms spend an academic quarter at the Wheeler Farm. The Farm Program is traditional in the best sense of the word, a modern building on the outside but a one-room schoolhouse on the inside.

8 In this one room, two teachers – the homeroom teacher and the Farm Program director – offer classes in math, reading, writing, and science but they also have much more time and flexibility to instill in the students the Farm Program values of responsibility, community, stewardship, gratitude, and joy.


10 Sixth Grade Science Program Sixth grade was a good choice as the home for The Farm Program. Sixth grade has had a special emphasis on nature study since 1981. They explore the natural history around our city campus and take local field trips, like this one to the Rhode Island School of Design Nature Lab.

11 They learn to identify trees and they make a leaf collection.

12 The students keep natural history journals and become sharp observers of the natural world.

13 Ninth Grade Environmental Science Wheeler may be unique among independent schools in requiring that all students take Environmental Science before graduating, a requirement that it has had for almost 30 years. This ensures that all of our graduates are environmentally literate citizens. It is one of Wheeler’s many distinctive programs.

14 AP Environmental Science “APES” is a college level environmental science course that Wheeler has offered to selected ninth graders since the test’s inaugural year in 1999. Here are some stats: The average score has been 4+ out of 5. In 2009, 11/13 students got 5’s. Of the 70,000 students in the nation who take APES, only about 1.5% are ninth graders. In 2008, Otter Brown received the Seimens Award for RI AP Teacher of the Year.

15 Envirothon In addition to the regular curriculum, Wheeler students participate in a number of other environmental programs. Since its inception in 1998, Wheeler students have participated in the Envirothon competition where students compete as a team in five categories – water, soils, forestry, wildlife and a special subject – for a state title. Wheeler has won the state title in nine of the past twelve years and have competed in the national competition in six of those years.

16 Semester Programs At its inception in 1985, Wheeler signed-on to be a founding member school of The Mountain School, a semester program for juniors in Vershire, Vermont. While at the Mountain School, students work on the organic farm, participate in the outdoor program and take junior year courses. Now, Wheeler students also participate in environmental semester programs such as the High Mountain Institute, The Island School and City Term.

17 And Much More……. Environmental issues integrated through-out the science curriculum 7 th and 8 th grade class trips AP Biology horseshoe crab research English elective, “Nature Writers” Seedling project in LS – growing seeds for harvesting vegetables for the Food Bank

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