This is the same philosophy that environmental educators follow in a world where according to the Children and Nature Network, children gain 83 percent of their knowledge about nature from media such as Internet and television, Darst said.
Coffee and Darst both said part of their mission is to collaborate in such efforts as taking elementary students to a stream where they can connect with nature and learn how stream water quality affects life.
The Waco students enjoyed a day of learning, a day of applying their knowledge, and more importantly, a day they could feel, hear and smell nature, Darst said.
The students walked up and down the knee-level stream searching for whatever creature dared to reveal itself. They lifted rocks, chased crawdads and learned about how to prevent stream pollution.
“Civic engagement is another is another lesson we want students to learn,” Darst said, “how to make a positive impact on the community around you.”
The students were encourage to talk with their parents, grandparents and others to discuss what they learned about human impact on the environment.
“This is the best field trip ever,” a student was heard to say as the children headed back to their school for the rest of the day. “Why can’t we do this every day,” another said.
Prewitt’s science classes are more than just teaching children from a book, Darst said.
“Mrs Prewitt is building up her students to be better citizens, to be confident in themselves and to make a difference in the world around them,” he added.
When Prewitt gets back to her classroom next week, she will have her students compare the results of this year’s stream study with the data collected over the past four years and talk about whether water quality has improved or worsened.
“The idea is for this experience of education to last a lifetime,” Darst said.