SECRETS is a nine-week program for upper elementary classrooms throughout the Gorge. While this program connects kids to their local environment and engages them in hands-on learning and field excursions to local natural areas, it also meets state learning standards in both Oregon and Washington. The local forest ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest or the shrub-steppe ecosystem of the eastern Gorge becomes the living laboratory for students and community members.
The SECRETS program has proven to increase student achievement in science while also providing an outlet for student learning in a hands-on way that does not exist otherwise. Additionally, the SECRETS program has cultivated vibrant community partnerships over the years and will continue to do so. With budget cuts in the schools, it becomes even more essential to find local, sustainable funding from individuals as well as community partners.
Supported by more than two-dozen volunteers throughout the year, this program reaches nearly every 5th grade classroom in a 2000 square mile region. This program is extremely cost effective for the amount of quality instruction and time spent when broken down per student. The total cost for one classroom is $2,250, however, each class only pays $750. CGEI raises funds to cover the other $1,500 for each class through the support of community members who care just as much about providing opportunities for children and creating positive change in our environment as we do. Consider sponsoring a SECRETS class or even an entire school with three classes at $4,500.
Sponsor SCIENCE IN ACTION:
Through Science in Action, Gorge Ecology staff coordinates conservation action teams of middle school students to undertake field-based research and restoration projects in partnership with the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and other local government and non-profit organizations.
These projects give students the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom to engage in meaningful “real-life” conservation science. Science in Action demands a high level of interaction between students and resource professionals to design and carry out their research and ensure that the research is both informative and useful. Students are also provided with a platform to share their data collection with other students and professionals in the conservation arena. This program culminates in an overnight excursion to the Oregon Zoo for interested students that are accepted through an application process.
Science in Action is always in need of funding for area youth to conduct field research and restoration because it is 100% free for the schools. Each class of Science in Action costs $1,650 which includes three classroom visits, one field trip including transportation, and an overnight trip to the Oregon Zoo with transportation included. CGEI reimburses the schools for the use of buses on the field trips and to the zoo. Buses are a significant part of the budget for each class at $250. By sponsoring a bus you will be helping to cultivate a connection between kids and the unique nature of the region and the possibility of future careers in the natural sciences. There is also a lot of equipment that is used with Science in Action such as data sheets, field guides, bug nets, boots, waders, water quality testing equipment, GPS units, and computers. Sponsor the equipment for a class at $150 which helps with the maintenance and replacement costs.
100% of donations go to help support programs. Donations are tax deductible and donors will be recognized with a thank you letter.