May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Interview with Aaron Gilbert, Program Director at Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT)

Posted: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Eric Lewis

I was recently able to catch up with Aaron Gilbert from Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) to find out more about his organization.

Eric: Tell us about Bay Area Wilderness Training.

Aaron: Our mission is to create opportunities for urban you to connect with nature first hand. To achieve this goal we utilize a train-the-trainer model, and since 1999 we have provided outdoor leadership training for over 1,200 teachers and youth workers. In addition to the outdoor skills and leadership development that teachers get from our courses, we also provide free access to borrow camping equipment, outdoor clothing, and all the essentials groups need for camping from our gear libraries. In 14 years we have grown from training 20-40 youth workers and supporting trips for 100-300 youth to training close to 200 youth workers and enabling 6,000 youth to experience nature first hand per year.

GilbertEric: What sort of outdoor skills and leadership development do you provide?

Aaron: We offer two types of outdoor leadership, Frontcountry Leadership and Wilderness Leadership Training. On both of these courses teachers will learn about risk management, group management, campsite setup, kitchen setup, meal planning and preparation, and maps and navigation. We utilize best practices in experiential education and give our students opportunities to learn, practice, and teach new skills.  We also teach the skills using methods teachers can easily adapt and use with their students.

Eric: What is the difference between Frontcountry and Wilderness?

Aaron: Frontcounty is sometimes more commonly referred to as car camping. This is when you drive up to a campsite and camp within site of your vehicle.  Campsites are usually in larger campgrounds with facilities such as potable water, bathrooms, and rangers or docents. The vast majority of camping trips led by our leaders are front country. Wilderness is when you pack up all of your food, clothing, and camping equipment in a backpack and hike a mile or more from your vehicle. Often you are camping in primitive sites without potable water or bathrooms.

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For the purposes of our trainings, the Frontcountry Leadership Training is a two-day, one night camping course. All participants attend a pre-trip meeting the week before the course to visit our offices and learn how to checkout equipment from our gear library. This is an ideal course for anyone who is either very new to camping or wants to start camping as soon as possible with their students and does not have time to take the Wilderness Leadership Training.

Our flagship course, the Wilderness Leadership Training, is five days long. The first day and night are spent car camping and the final four days and three nights are spent backpacking in the wilderness of Tahoe or Yosemite. This transformational course is also great for first time campers and backpackers. We teach the course like it is everyone’s their first time, since we know that you will be doing the same for your students. Be ready to experience equal parts professional development and personal growth.

Gilbert_2Eric: When are your next courses?

Aaron: Our next Frontcountry Leadership Training is September 28 and 29 at Henry Coe State Park in Morgan Hill.  The pre-trip meeting is September 24th from 5pm to 7pm in Oakland.

Our next Wilderness Leadership Training will be in Spring 2014.  Please keep your eyes on our website or join our listserve to receive notification about the exact dates.

New this year, teachers can apply to receive 3 units of graduate-level university credit for taking either the Wilderness Leadership or Frontcounty Leadership Training courses. If teachers take both they can get 6 units. For more information about how to please check out our website.  http://www.bawt.org/programs/training/teachercredit/.

Eric: Do you offer any other training or support for teachers?

Aaron: We offer additional training in wilderness medicine and snowshoeing, and additional support through mini grants and trip planning workshops. Our goal is for you to be successful and feel supported. When you take a course with Bay Area Wilderness Training, you are joining a vibrant community of educators and youth development professionals. You will make connections that will last you many years.

Eric: Whom should teachers contact for more information?

Aaron: Please contact me, Aaron Gilbert, at aaron@bawt.org or 510 452 2298 x301.

Eric: Thanks so much for your time, Aaron.  It seems like BAWT provides some great experiences for teachers and students alike!

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.