Conservation in the Classroom

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COASTAL DISCOVERY MUSEUM PROGRAM GIVES STUDENTS AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE

A program that launched for the first time during the 2019-2020 school year to help young students spread the word on how to help with local conservation efforts leapt into action when everything suddenly came to a halt more than halfway through the school year.

Conservation in the Classroom was launched by the Coastal Discovery Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, as a way for students, teachers and the Hilton Head-based museum to work together to educate the youth on local conservation efforts.

Educators from the museum visited the classroom to educate and give students materials and a project for them to work on throughout the school year. Classrooms were given the choice of choosing one of four themes that best suited their grade level. Themes included Sharing with Shorebirds, Saving Sea Turtles, Dolphin Defenders and Horseshoe Crab Heroes.

Dawn BrutStudents from the Hilton Head Boys & Girls Club, Hilton Head Elementary School and Hilton Head Prep participated.

A variety of schools also signed up to participate virtually in the Horseshoe Crab Heroes program. Students continued to work on these projects, even as classrooms turned into virtual lessons from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The students also helped create two shorebird protection signs that will soon be placed at a few public beach access areas, thanks to the HHI Audubon Society and the Town of Hilton Head Island.

Dawn Brut, Curator of Education, said the students were able to learn, share a meaningful project at home with their families, and were excited to spread the word on conservation.

Students were thankful to be able to take part in the program and turned in their projects at the end of the school year even through all of the challenges many families have encountered during the pandemic.

The student’s art projects are on display through Aug. 28 at the Discovery House Exhibit Gallery at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

Brut also commended the help of some of the museum’s partners who made the program possible, including the Hilton Head Audubon Society, Palmetto Dunes Cares, Coastal Discovery Museum’s Adopt-A-Dolphin Program and The Bargain Box.

In the program’s second year, it will supply online resources for virtual experiences for students learning remotely.

It will also continue the program for students who are in classrooms. This will enable teachers and students to be versatile in their teaching efforts while helping students to get creative and learn about different conservation programs.

Brut says the themes chosen are important for people who live here and visit the island to protect our environment, culture and natural history. She hopes that people who visit the museum will help with conservation efforts by participating in an educational experience and taking action when they leave. For more information on the program, contact Brut at dbrut@coastaldiscovery.org, or visit www.coastaldiscovery.org.