Seeking to inspire the next generation

Published on April 21st, 2019

As a tribute to Earth Day 2019, which is annually observed on April 22 to demonstrate and promote environmental awareness, here is an update from the Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation CISF which has a mission to both provide and promote marine access, marine education, and sailing to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds:

The CISF has expanded into year-round programming in partnership with the Jamestown School District in Jamestown, Rhode Island. The new STEAM Ocean Initiative is aimed at inspiring today’s youth to become the next generation of ocean and environmental stewards.

The growing demand for STEAM education and for students to understand and critically evaluate the interconnected role of science, technology, engineering, arts + design, and mathematics – essential skills in today’s fast-paced world, sparked CISF’s programming in the Jamestown public schools.

CISF seeks to enrich current curriculum with hands-on experiential learning activities and provide opportunities for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to the marine environment and real life applications.

“The STEAM Ocean Initiative provides tremendous value and service to students in the Lawn Avenue and Melrose schools,” said Meg Myles, CISF Executive Director. “This type of education is vital to the future of our island community and our youth.”

There are multiple programs within the STEAM Ocean Initiative, with each program having a specific focus:

• Build a Boat and Build a Buoy are exploratory STEM programs providing kindergarten through second graders the opportunity to experiment and learn about buoyancy, building boats, and buoys of their own.
• The Eco Club is an after-school program for middle school students who have a passion for the environment and finding creative solutions to combat climate change.
• Nature Buddies pairs third grade students with pre-school students in a mentoring relationship. It is a great opportunity for the third graders to learn about responsibility and leadership for younger children and the natural world.
• Backyard Explorers is a program for first, second, third and fourth graders to explore the natural world on the school grounds. Through team building and discovery, the students are creating a strong relationship with each other, to the school grounds, and to the natural world.

This Initiative “hits all the skills we want to develop in our students: collaboration, critical thinking, creation, and communication,” reports Lisa Casey, School Librarian. “The programs teach students about water and their physical space and caring for their environment. As an Island community, I can’t think of a more authentic STEAM experience for our students.”

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