When I was told to I had a choice over my practicum placement for the Elementary Scientific Inquiry class at UMW, I initially thought I would have to really wrestle over choosing between my options. In reality, the answer was obvious.

Having the opportunity to volunteer at Friends of the Rappahannock seemed like such the obvious choice. How could I not be excited? Everything this organization represents resonated as using education to create a better world for the future.

I was going to be able to spend the day outside, by the river, all while educating children on river advocacy and restoration. There was no downside to this opportunity.

I feel very lucky to have encountered the programs and activities put into place by the education program at Friends of the Rappahannock. All these activities can be easily adapted and implemented into a classroom.

However, the true beauty of these lessons is that they are filled with hidden curriculum. Friends of the Rappahannock does a phenomenal job building lessons around the Virginia State Standards of Learning (SOLs). Their lessons range from learning about the history of the river to exploring habitats that exist right on the river’s banks.

On the surface these activities are fun and engaging for the children, but all the lessons could be traced back to why the Rappahannock River and surrounding areas are important and worth fighting to protect.

While it was rewarding enough to watch students discover an interest in the outdoors, I was especially inspired by the organization’s dedication to introducing the importance of the environment to children at such a early time in their education.

I learned so much from my time volunteering with Friends of the Rappahannock. They have inspired me to reconstruct my own classroom so that the ideals Friends of the Rappahannock hold dear find a place in my future students’ education.

By Tara McCrone, FOR Education Intern

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