Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Schuylkill Explorers Reaches a Diverse Audience

Our Schuylkill Explorers program is an educational initiative that seeks to engage student groups in learning about the Schuylkill River's history and environment, and to encourage youth's to develop an appreciation for the outdoors.

This fall, Schuylkill River Heritage Area Education Coordinator Sarah Crothers added a new dimension to the Explorers program, by partnering with Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos, Inc.(CCLU). CCLU is a Pottstown-based grassroots organization dedicated to addressing the needs of Latinos children, youth and parents.

Throughout October, Sarah led five weekly after-school sessions aimed at children and seniors that linked CCLU's cultural goals with the Schuylkill Explorer's environmental theme. The program, titled Fuentes y Puentes (Sources & Bridges) invited children and seniors of all backgrounds to join together for a series of  environmental and Hispanic cultural activities.

Session One:
The first three sessions, each lasting one hour, were held at Pottstown's beautiful Riverfront Park. During the first session, with the river as their backdrop, seniors helped children write letters about why they love the park.

Session Two: 
Former art teacher and current Trail Ambassador Jody Wentzel gave a lesson on nature art, and led the group in an exercise on drawing a cardinal. The results were amazing!
Session Three:

Our partners from John James Audubon at Mill Grove took the group on a birding walk, complete with binoculars, perfect for spotting goldfinches in the woods. The session was highlighted with a visit from a live owl.

Session Four: 
The final two sessions were held at CCLU's regular after school meeting place. Session four focused on Latin music and dance. Children made maracas our of paper cups and dried beans, then joined the seniors for some dancing.
Session Five:
Food was the theme for this week, so the children and seniors gathered one final time for Latino themed snacks. Then, they watched a video put together by STRIVE Initiative from summer CCLU activities before, sadly, saying goodbye.

Overall, the program was a great success that provided children and seniors an opportunity to interact through meaningful activities that fostered an appreciation for the environment and Latino culture. Below is a letter written by one of the children to Education Coordinator Sarah Crothers.


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