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.

Advertisement

Advertisement

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.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.