A Mississippi State University program for elementary students has been recognized for teaching environmental and natural sciences.
The Youth Environmental Science program received the third place Gulf Guardian Award in the Environmental Justice and Cultural Diversity category. The Gulf of Mexico Program, a consortium sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, gives the award annually.
Students in third, fourth and fifth grades at Henderson Ward Stewart Intermediate School in Starkville attend the Youth Environmental Science program for one week and learn environmental science concepts through hands-on experiments, outdoor lessons and field trips. One of the unique features about the program is that it is conducted in the students' school as part of their curriculum, making it accessible to all students in the three grade levels.
Leslie Burger and Jessica Tegt, Mississippi State University Extension Service faculty in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, created the program two years ago. The duo has taught more than 1,200 students each year and studied the program's impacts on science learning.
The Gulf of Mexico Program created the Gulf Guardian Awards in 2000 to recognize groups helping to preserve the Gulf through research and education efforts that promote stewardship of this important natural resource.