Promoting conservation, outdoor education, and humanitarian programs worldwide.
Conservation and outdoor recreation are subjects that are rarely acknowledged in the classroom; and few organizations work to foster these important lessons. SCI Foundation seeks to promote science-based conservation and outdoor education around the world. Our efforts impart an appreciation for wildlife and encourage the public to get involved with conservation work in their community. We accomplish this through the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS), which teaches conservation education lessons and shooting sports activities to 200-250 educators each year. Educators then pass these lessons on to their students to ensure an understanding and appreciation for conservation is instilled in future generations. In 2014, Kristin Joivel, a Kindergarten teacher and Science Club Advisor attended AWLS. The ALWS program features classes on ecology, water quality, environmental science and human impact. Joivel gained first-hand experience in an outdoor classroom and took these lessons home with her. She decided to conduct a data collection project with her students in the Juniata River, which runs through the school’s campus. “At AWLS, I was trained to conduct a biotic index of a river. I decided to organize a data collection project at my school, Juniata Valley Elementary School. Students from second through sixth grade, as well as volunteers from our local Juniata Valley Audubon Society participated in the JV River Project.” At the event, students and adults worked together to collect data about the macro invertebrates in the river. They tallied up counts from three groups of organisms, which can help to indicate the quality of the river. Attendees went on nature tours and then further investigated features of the macro invertebrates using microscopes and magnifying glasses. Stories like this inspire our organization. The skills learned at AWLS can be used in all aspects of life and are invaluable to younger generations. Today’s youth can greatly benefit from an understanding of wildlife management and outdoor recreation. Joivel’s project perfectly demonstrates our mission and we hope to see more educators sharing their AWLS experiences!