Millbrook Magnet Elementary: Changing the World, One Environmentally-Minded Citizen at a Time
Nature is an open-ended laboratory that beckons children to collaborate, communicate, create, think critically and problem solve. Millbrook Environmental Connections Magnet Elementary (MECME) offers a learning experience that leverages children’s innate interest in nature. Teachers at MECME bring students outside regularly to engage with the natural world. They immerse students in meaningful, environmentally-connected learning through field lessons and mini treks.
What do these experiences look like for a MECME student?
- Project Wet visited Millbrook during a unit about water around the world.
- Natural Resource Specialists with the Army Corps of Engineers recently visited fourth graders to explain how wild animals defend themselves.
- A local arborist visited fifth-graders to explain biodiversity.
Mini treks are unique to the Environmental Connections magnet program. They allow students to investigate a classroom topic outside on the school campus, which hosts a variety of ecosystems. Students take an average of six mini treks each quarter. Some trek topics include: erosion control, cloud observation, micro habitats, tree identification and gardening. “When students go on a mini trek, the learning comes naturally,” explains Sean Russell, Millbrook’s Environmental Connections Integration Specialist.
For example, on one of their mini treks, first-graders explore habitats and bird calls of finches, bluebirds and cardinals that live on MECME’s campus. They use binoculars during the mini trek to observe bird feeders and houses. MECME staff use observation tools such as camera traps and drones to enhance the mini trek learning experience. “With our camera traps, we are able to capture images of wildlife to learn about what happens on our campus when we aren’t looking, both day and night. Students are fascinated by this,” explains Russell. “Millbrook’s camera drones allow students to have a bird’s-eye view of habitats and the changes of habitats from season to season. They allow us to study tree canopies up close, among other things.”
Do you want this kind of learning in a natural environment woven into your child’s educational experience? Contact Millbrook Magnet Elementary School for a tour at wcpss.net/millbrookes or contact Millbrook’s Magnet Coordinator, Randi Jones, at 919-850-8700, ext. 26250. You can email Randi at firstname.lastname@example.org.