Science teachers eligible to compete for scholarships

Onondaga County's top middle school science teachers can now apply to receive one of 15 full scholarships to a hands-on professional development program that offers an invaluable experience and new tools to stimulate student learning.

Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education, now in its second year, was developed by Honeywell, the Montezuma Audubon Center and the Onondaga Audubon Society to provide unique learning opportunities to help the area's best teachers excite and inspire a new generation of scientists in their classrooms. It is part of an overall initiative to recognize the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education and to educate youth about habitat and conservation.

The program is scheduled for Aug. 8 through 12 and combines classroom instruction with diverse outdoor experiences at sites throughout the Onondaga Lake watershed. The curriculum also is designed to complement the adoption of Onondaga Lake as an Important Bird Area as recognized by the National Audubon Society.

Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education provides inquiry-based techniques for teachers to learn about habitats and ecosystems, water quality, birds, native plants and sustainability. The program is aligned with New York State's standards in math, science and technology, and is adaptable to classrooms.

"Audubon is excited to partner with Honeywell, a corporate leader in STEM learning initiatives, to provide educators with techniques that will inspire their students to learn about natural systems and the environment," said Frank Moses, Director of the Montezuma Audubon Center. "The real-world science lessons in the program will inspire students to take a more active role in preserving their environment and encourage them to become environmental stewards in their own communities."

Last summer, 15 teachers from 10 different Onondaga County school districts completed the week-long exploration of the watershed. They examined freshwater and field habitats, explored streams and marshes with environmental leaders and naturalists, and took a boat tour of Onondaga Lake.

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