Nature in the City
Click here to watch a short video on Nature in the City
is Nature in the City?
Baltimore Woods' Nature
in the City program brings authentic, hands-on/minds-on natural science
learning to K-6th grade urban school
children. Now in its ninth year with the Syracuse City School District, and in
its pilot year with the Auburn City School District, this award winning program
is better than ever. Nature in the City lessons provide relevant,
meaningful and fun ways to learn science. Each participating classroom receives a series
of three lessons with a common learning objective and theme. The hour-long lessons are tied to the New
York State Science Standards and have been tailored to support the Elementary
Science Core Curriculum. Nature in the City lessons support teachers and
enhance the science being taught in the classroom.
Each year Billy B. Brennan,
the Natural Science Song and Dance Man, brings the Nature in the City
show to participating schools. The concert is a great way to re-enforce science
topics covered throughout the year, and a fun capstone to the program.
Through walking field trips
to nearby parks and green-spaces, as well as lessons in the classroom, student
learning is neighborhood based. Because Baltimore Woods brings the program to
the students, the carbon footprint from transportation is reduced, as well as
conserving transportation costs and valuable instruction time. Most
importantly, student science learning is enhanced as evidenced through
standardized and outcome based student assessments.
Supported by the Syracuse City School District, Save the
Rain, and local corporate sponsors; Nature in the City is a great way to
kick-off a lifetime of science learning!
How does Nature in the City fit with the New
York State Learning Standards?
Nature in the City
lessons correlate with the Elementary Science Core Curriculum. Programs chiefly
focus on and support Standard 4: The Living Environment. Baltimore Woods
provides opportunities for students to have direct experiences with the living
environment by bringing natural science education into the classroom.
In 2010 Baltimore
Woods' education staff re-wrote the Nature
in the City curriculum, making special efforts to correlate the lessons not
only with the NYS Elementary Science Core Curriculum, but also with the
Syracuse City School District Elementary Science Curriculum. The curriculum is
continually adjusted and new lessons written as the science curriculum changes.
One example of this
change appears in our Sixth Grade lessons. Responding to teacher feedback,
Baltimore Woods educators wrote three new lessons focusing on earth science, addressing
the rock cycle and how the landscape reveals a place's history. In 2011 a new
fifth grade lesson was written to address the change in curriculum to include
ecosystems. For more information on the lessons offered in each grade level,
please download our Nature in the City
Nature in the City
parks and green-spaces within walking distance of schools are overlooked
resources containing an array of cultural, ecological, and historic
assets. They serve as a springboard to
teach skills and cultivate a love of learning and sensible stewardship.
In 2002, Baltimore Woods
created Nature in the City to showcase urban ecology and engage young
children in learning about the culture, geography, natural resources and
ecology of their neighborhoods. In October 2003, Billy B. Brennan, the Natural
Science Song and Dance Man, gave the premier performances of the Nature in
the City show co-created with Baltimore Woods in Syracuse.
During the summer of 2009,
and again in the summer of 2010, Baltimore Woods Nature Center partnered with
Say Yes to Education and ran a Nature in
the City summer camp out of Roberts Elementary. The camp was a great success, giving children
the opportunity to experience nature play every day in nearby Elmwood Park. The
students also learned the scientific method through a series of age appropriate
scientific experiments. The highlight of the summer was a trip to visit
Baltimore Woods Nature Center. The
s'mores were the best!
Nature in the City is an
award winning program. Awards the program has received include: the Environmental Quality Award, the highest
recognition that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
bestows on any organization (2004); the Museums for America Award from the
Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (2004) ; the Women Taking the
Lead to Save Our Planet Award from the Syracuse Commission for Women (2009) ;
and award recognition from the Syracuse Mayor's office. Executive Director
Patty Weisse received the Social Entrepreneur Award from the Whitman School of
Management at Syracuse University for her work with Nature in the City (2012).