AUGUSTA, Maine - Fourth grade classrooms throughout the state are now filled with Maine's mammals, animal tracks, endangered species, fish and game wardens.
Over the past two weeks, every fourth grade teacher in the state was mailed posters of Maine's mammals, animal tracks, endangered species, cold and warmwater fish and a game warden helping two young anglers fishing along a stream. Along with the posters, a classroom activities booklet containing lesson plans is provided, and tying in Maine's wildlife resources with the state's learning results.
The posters depicting Maine's fish and wildlife resources are linked with the Maine Studies unit that all fourth grades study. Each activity and lesson plan supporting the posters is adapted from Project Wild, a national conservation educational program that contains hands-on K-12 multidisciplinary activities with habitat, wildlife and management concepts.
"It was important that every fourth grade classroom had updated and accurate reference materials concerning Maine's wildlife and fishes," said Lisa Kane, Natural Science Educator for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Maine is a state rich with natural resources, and the posters, lessons and associated activities give students a chance to learn about Maine's outdoor heritage."
The six posters are illustrated on the front, with basic information about each species including its range, habitat and behavior provided on the back. Included in the activity booklet is information about the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray and Swan Island in Richmond, where students can take field trips to learn more about Maine's mammals and fishes, as well as attend school wildlife programs. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife produced the posters. The mailing and materials were funded through federal dollars provided by the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program.
The original proposal was to send a nationally recognized wildlife magazine to every Maine fourth grader, but IFW Natural Science Educator Lisa Kane expanded on that idea, and focused on making this project more Maine specific and more valuable to Maine's fourth graders. Teachers were also provided with a feedback form, and thus far the replies are very positive.
The mailing went to 985 fourth grade teachers from both public and private schools, as well as all grade school curriculum coordinators. The Department of Education provided the list of names and addresses. The Maine Math and Science Alliance was contracted to align the posters and the activities to the Maine Learning Results.
Those interested in learning more about Maine's mammals and fishes, Project Wild, the Maine Wildlife Park, Swan Island, or if you are a fourth grade teacher who did not receive a the mailing, please call Lisa Kane at 287-3303.
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