Newfoundland’s Oceans Learning Partnership’s Coastal Explorers Field School named one of five winners in UL Innovative Education Award Program to Advance Environmental and STEM Education
In collaboration with North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), program champions excellence and innovation in youth programming that uses the environment as pathway to STEM learning
NORTHBROOK, IL and WASHINGTON, D.C. [August 17, 2016] — Oceans Learning Partnership’s Coastal Explorers Field School in Newfoundland, Canada (www.coastalexplorers.net), which operates a ‘floating classroom’ and onshore laboratories that give students in the Newfoundland and Labrador province opportunities to interact with marine environments in a scientific perspective, has been named one of the five winners in the second annual UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.) Innovative Education Award program. The organization will receive a grant of $50,000.
The Coastal Explorers Field School invites students to become marine scientists for the day. The program has expanded its outreach from 1,600 rural and indigenous students in grades 4-12 to youth near the urban areas of St. John’s as well as the rural areas of eastern and western Newfoundland.
Developed in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the UL Innovative Education Award (http://ulinnovationeducation.naaee.net) was open to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada that serve to motivate K-12 students about science and research through E-STEM programming and education about the environment. The intent is to support innovative organizations that are inspiring future researchers, scientists, and problem solvers.
Four other grants were awarded, including a top prize of $100,000. An additional $50,000 grant was awarded along with two others of $25,000 each.
All five winning teams from the UL Innovative Education Award (ULIEA) program will meet in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, Aug. 17-19 on the UL campus for the second ULIEA kickoff meeting and leadership summit.
“We were impressed by how OLP’s Coast Explorers Field School encourages youth to present the source of the problem and implications of the problem to various audiences and how they enabled youth to advocate for feasible solutions,” Cara Gizzi, Director of Public Safety Education and Outreach says. “The judges noted that this year’s winning programs demonstrated the lasting returns on investing in sustained contact with the learners over months as well as years. OLP’s field school and the other winners are the ideal ‘deep learning’ programs that offer effective, meaningful, and measurable engagement in STEM learning that can be readily tracked over time.”
The UL Innovative Education Award proposals demonstrate the values of service learning and a bottom-up approach that includes as many diverse voices, among the core features of the goals for the NAAEE’s ongoing National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education, according to Christiane Maertens, NAAEE’s Deputy Director. “Building on the strengths of service learning, these projects show the impact of the ways people are experimenting with experiential learning,” Maertens says. “Youth are participating in projects that offer tangible benefits to their communities and that learning is directly associated with creating that benefit. These projects also represent many voices including urban, religious, indigenous, people of color, elderly, and women-led populations. For youth, this means achieving a more complex understanding of environmental issues, critical thinking, process and problem solving and seeing how STEM can meet the needs of the community.”