National Geographic : 1995 Apr
THE PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON THE Education Foundation Taking Root: Grants for Teachers Valuable lessons in geography can be found anywhere-if you're willing to get your hands dirty. Lola Wheeler of Louis ville, Kentucky (above, at right), encourages her Seneca High School students to do just that as they probe the remains of a plantation house. Her clever down-and-dirty approach was one of 26 projects funded by our Education Founda tion's Teacher Grant Program. "The Briscoe family has owned this land since the 1700s; the house burned down around 1840," says Lola. "By plotting landforms and available water sources, my students are trying to discover why the Bris coe family chose this particular area. "They'll also study the growth and decline of the area population." Best of all, Lola's archaeological digs on the plantation site have lit the fires of curiosity in her students. "Some of my seniors are so into this they've asked if they can come back to help out next year." PHIL SCHERMEISTER Ideas poured in after the founda tion put out the call for teachers' grant proposals last year. I'm not talking about vast sums of money the amounts ranged from $435 to just over $1,200-but the results have been priceless. At Janesville Union School in northern California, seventh graders helped their first-grade counterparts use surveying devices to measure ponderosa pines (left). "Our stu dents are also planting trees to restore an overgrazed area," says grant recipient Julie McKee. In Bloomington, Illinois, a teach er grant helped create a lesson plan that used aerial photography. High schoolers in Gonzales, Texas, trav eled from their coastal plain home to the state's hill country. Conway, Arkansas, elementary school stu dents visited an Ozark folk festival. Then there's Jane Fallon of Mos cow, Idaho. She is the first recipient of the Wendy Rogers Memorial grant, named for a cherished mem ber of our education staff. Jane's three-day Geography Camp-dur ing which kids dug fossils, studied aquatic life, and learned compass skills-is now a permanent part of her school district's sixth-grade cur riculum. Not a bad return on $984! ~f/^-^ ^/ THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY EDUCATIONFOUNDATIONWAS ESTABLISHEDIN 1988 TO RAISE AND DISTRIBUTEFUNDS FOR EDUCATIONALAND SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS.