Listen to the podcast (click play button above) to hear Dawn Chehab and Josh Garrett discuss why creating an Eco Club at their school has immense value. Their list of accolades helps prove others thought it a valuable idea too.
Earning a $65,000 grant from State Farm, Dawn and Josh, along with three other teachers, started the Eco Club in November 2016.
This cadre of teachers and club members spend countless hours working with a variety of community partners, like the University of Florida, Sea World and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, to focus on recycling, campus clean ups, energy conservation, building oyster reef mats and gardening for human and wildlife consumption.
The Eco Club spearheaded the creation of a butterfly garden and a quarter-acre wildlife sanctuary that houses an Osprey perch, a frog pond and a certified Gopher tortoise habitat continually reinforce ecology lessons. Plus students in the Eco Club grow lettuce in a hydroponics garden that they donate to the SeaWorld manatee rehabilitation center.
Bridging the extra-curricular into the classroom, Millennia Gardens identified one teacher in each grade level to attend an Everglades literacy workshop at SeaWorld. The teacher learned how to apply the state-aligned curriculum across all grade levels, and received a class set of lesson materials, like hula hoops, animal identification cards and handout activities, to make implementation easy. Their continued commitment to teaching students about the fragile area earned them the distinction of being named an Everglades Champion School.
Dawn and Josh share how the unique experiences the Eco Club provided positively affected the students, many of whom have never left Orange County before these opportunities. They’ve also seen the benefits of making parents a partner in their club and how it has impacted student learning.
You have to listen to hear specific details. It’s goosebump worthy.
To see a visual synopsis of the Eco Club’s 2018-19 school year, watch this video
In addition to their overnight trip to the Everglades, Eco Club members fed the lettuce they grew to the manatees at SeaWorld. Check out this video:
Dawn and Josh are proud their students are seen as “loving animals, investing in the environment and are willing to take the steps to make it a better world.”
ABOUT THE GUESTS –
Dawn Chehab teaches third grade at Millennia Gardens ES and is one of the Eco Club founders.
Josh Garrett taught fifth grade at Millennia Gardens ES but is moving this next school year to teach science at Westridge Middle. He is also one of the Eco Club founders.