BGREEN (Building Grass Roots Environmental Education Networks) is an environmental literacy program that allows fourth and fifth grade students to conduct environmental research with former GK-12 teachers assisted by undergraduate interns, graduate student science mentors, and community partners. Throughout the year, the BGREEN teams in each classroom develop and execute an authentic research project designed to highlight environmental issues of great importance to the community. BGREEN projects have included assessments of the health of Columbia streams and inventories of native and non-native bird species throughout the city. In many cases, these projects have provided critical information to the community partners whose role it is to oversee the environmental health of the community. Improved knowledge about the environmental health of the city is not the only benefit of the BGREEN program—everyone involved enjoys growth as scientists, students, and educators.
The 4th and 5th grade students involved in the BGREEN program demonstrate expanded environmental literacy and scientific research skills and improved standardized test scores. In addition to self-identifying as scientists at an early age, students feel a stronger connection to their environment and community and develop the skills to be the scientists and environmental stewards of the future. Teachers exhibit an increased commitment to student-driven scientific and environmental research and receive training and professional development in best practices in science inquiry, integrating science across the elementary school curriculum, and the use of technology in the science classroom. Several of our BGREEN teachers have given presentations about their experiences to both professional organizations for educators and to scientific societies. BGREEN student scientist mentors (graduate students) and interns (undergraduate students) are able to expand their STEM teaching skills through interaction with a broader diversity of learners—elementary schools students and teachers – and with their community. Our 2014-2015 community partners include the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, the City of Columbia, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Rock Bridge State park.
ShowMe the Weather
Visiting Columbia? Wondering if you need to pack your umbrella? We’ve got you covered! Check out current condition from our GK-12 weather forecasters at:
- The research of ShowMe Nature GK12 teachers John Nies, Becky Bowers, and Karla Sommer was highlighted at the 2014 Ecological Society of America Meeting in Sacramento California! [read more]
- Columbia Public Schools has named Professor Candi Galen a “Science Hero.” The award recognizes Galen’s role in establishing and serving as faculty director of MU’s Show-Me Nature GK-12 program. [read more]
- Congratulations to all involved in the third annual ShowMe Nature GK12 Research Symposium held on April 26 in collaboration with the BGreen environmental literacy program! [read more]
- In February, sixty 4th and 5th graders joined the ShowMe Nature GK-12 program for the last of our GK-12 Science Safari research immersion series. [read more]
- John Nies (5th grade teacher at Grant Elementary) and Maggie Sperkowski (MU Undergraduate BGREEN Intern) have helped their students create a blog for their garden ecosystem project. [read the blog]