Schools are closed and extra-curricular activities are cancelled, but hands-on learning can continue at home with the help of Mother Nature and Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA).
Raritan Headwaters just launched a “Resource Hub” on its website, www.raritanheadwaters.org, providing ideas and projects to help families learn about science and nature. A companion Facebook page, Raritan Headwaters Learning Community, has been created.
“Your family may be stuck at home, but there’s plenty to see, do and learn right outside your back door,” said Lauren Theis, RHA’s education director. “We have lots of ideas for fun activities you and your kids can do in the house, in your backyard, and at parks, rivers, streams and nature trails in your community.”
“So much of our normal life has come to a standstill because of the COVID-19 outbreak,” added Cindy Ehrenclou, executive director. “Nature offers great opportunities for fun and learning, and we at Raritan Headwaters are excited to offer RHA’s Resource Hub to families in our watershed and beyond.”
Raritan Headwaters’ team of educators will add new content to the learning hub weekly, and the public can ask questions of RHA educators and scientists on the Facebook page and through email.
The learning hub includes “Creature Features” on animals found in New Jersey, and a variety of learning projects, crafts and experiments that can be done at or near home.
For example, learners of all ages are invited to explore a local stream to look for “benthic macroinvertebrates,” small creatures that are indicators of water quality. The lesson plan includes a video with Theis, a list of materials needed for stream exploration, and instructions for capturing and identifying macroinvertebrates.
Another fun family project invites children to imagine that they are space travelers from the planet Zog in search of water. Parents provide small containers of clear liquids and children perform simple science experiments to determine which liquid is water.
The learning hub also includes instructions and inspiration for creating a nature journal to record outdoor observations through writing and drawing. A list of “curious questions” prompts children and adults to become keener observers of the nature around them.
This week’s Creature Features include information about spring peepers, American bullfrogs, Eastern red-spotted newts, northern two-lined salamanders and wood frogs.
To visit RHA’s Learning Resource Hub, go to https://www.raritanheadwaters.
For the RHA Learning Community Facebook Page, go to https://www.facebook.com/
For questions on any aspect of the Learning Resource Hub, contact Theis at firstname.lastname@example.org.