Program brings environmental education to disadvantaged children

Alexis Lauren homeward bound 1

Ecology Explorers is a K-12 program run by Central Arizona - Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAPLTER) that focuses on environmental education outreach. By working with Homeward Bound, a residential community for families fleeing domestic abuse, Ecology Explorers provides educational enrichment to children that are not well-served by typical science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

Over the past year, Ecology Explorers interns, student workers and graduate fellows designed and delivered lessons to groups of 10-15 children four times a semester. Fall lessons focused on urban ecology and microclimates, while the spring lessons ranged from understanding the water cycle to considering the effects of pollution on the environment. The lessons are intended to provide a foundation for future learning, as well as to help the children understand and appreciate the environment around them.