Palmyra Cove Nature Park & BCIT Students: Perfect Together
Outdoor Environmental Science Classroom Featured in NJN program this April
“It is the perfect place for my students and me to conduct a live study of ‘Earth as a System,’” said Burlington County Institute of Technology teacher John Moore, who brought 22 of his students to the Palmyra Cove Nature Park to conduct live studies of the weather and water. During the visit, which will be featured on NJN’s Classroom Close-up NJ television program on April 6, students used sophisticated equipment to sample water and measure weather from the park’s shoreline, which expands over one mile along the Delaware River.
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“Increasing the use of technology in the teaching of environmental science has been one of our goals for our outdoor classroom here at Palmyra Cove since the beginning,” said Clara Ruvolo, Director of the park. “The Annual Water Festival we host for elementary school children is part of a nationwide effort to teach students about water conservation and resource management. Now we’re extending our reach into the high school community. And we’re proud to partner with BCIT to make this goal a reality.”
“We’re thrilled to once again share our outdoor classroom with educators and children who are interested in studying our environment by enjoying hands-on experiences at the Nature Cove,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II. “We couldn’t be more pleased to add the 22 BCIT students to the 12,000 students who have already visited this treasure since its opening.”
During their day-long visit to the Nature Cove, students used hand-held Digital Lab equipment to electronically sample water and weather—they measured dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH of the water and air temperature, wind speed and humidity as part of weather studies. The 9th through 12th grade students in BCIT’s GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program took measurements using a scientific approach to studying the earth that is used by GLOBE, NASA, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Moore is a teacher of Geospatial Technologies and Director of GLOBE at BCIT.
Moore added, “It’s one thing to study environmental science from a textbook, and quite another to be able to touch, smell, and interact with it personally—that’s the reality at Palmyra Cove.”
The GLOBE program is a hands-on, international, primary and secondary school-based environmental science and education program financed by NASA and the National Science Foundation. Involved in GLOBE are students 5 to 18 years of age from more than 19,000 schools in 109 countries around the world. There are more than 36,000 GLOBE-trained teachers who have access to GLOBE resources; more than 16 million measurements have been contributed to the GLOBE database.
Classroom Close-up, NJ is a magazine program focusing on innovative projects happening in New Jersey public schools. The 30-minute weekly series on NJN Public Television features the students, teachers, school staff and communities who create and participate in successful school projects and events.
Palmyra Cove Nature Park is a 250-acre nature preserve located at the foot of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which features a 10,000 square foot Environmental Discovery Center with interactive exhibits, and 10 miles of trails through woodlands and wetlands (including a tidal marsh, tidal creek, pond, 1¼ mile river shoreline). It is open 7 days, year-round, sunrise to sunset, and is free to the public. Since its opening, PCNP has hosted 12,000 students, representing nearly 200 schools.
“Palmyra Cove is a great destination—it has a variety of ecosystems that not only expose students to how our Earth functions as a system but does so in a way that’s exciting for the students,” said John Moore. “It is an experience that my students always look forward too, and that’s good for learning.”
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The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of approximately $13 million dollars.
BCBC Continues to Assist BurlCo Towns
The first of several joint regional meetings between the Burlington County Bridge Commission and the county’s municipalities and school districts was held on March 4. The meeting, which included officials from River Route communities, focused on how the BCBC and local government can work even more closely to share services and help find grant funding for municipalities.
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BCBC recently met with local government officials throughout Burlington County to discuss pooled borrowing needs for 2009.
Plans are underway for the next Shared Services Forum general membership meeting—tentatively for the end of April. Burlington County organizations recently received surveys that will help the Commission identify additional shared services needs and opportunities.
Municipal officials interested in any of the opportunities mentioned here are asked to call Gary LaVenia at (856) 829-1900 for more information.
See and Hear the World with "Hiking With Hart"
“Hiking with Hart” is a new guided hike program that began Saturday, March 14 and will continue on Saturdays from 9 AM to 11 AM. Eco-psychologist Bonnie Hart will guide hikers to focus their minds on actively seeing and hearing the world around them. The program starts with a brief classroom introduction followed by a 4-mile hike during which participants will practice identifying plants and animals.
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What Else is Happening at Palmyra Cove Nature Park?
Cove Caterpillars, an environmental education program for preschool children, begins its new season on Monday, March 23rd and continues Mondays from 10 AM to 11 AM through April. The program includes arts, crafts and games with an environmental theme. Cove Caterpillars participants enjoy their activities both inside the exhibit center and outside in the park.
GLOBE at Night—participants joined the worldwide hunt for stars! They identified stars and constellations in SKYLAB, an indoor portable planetarium, enjoy stargazing outdoors, monitor light pollution at this free event! Program was held Wednesday, March 18 from 6 to 8 PM. For more information on GLOBE at Night, see www.globe.gov/globeatnight.
Palmyra Cove Nature Park recently visited Cherry Hill’s Politz Day School for the school’s Science Matters Day and conducted a one-hour lesson called “Make Your Own Watershed” for fifth grade through eighth grade students.
Students from the Burlington County Special Services School visited PCNP for a two-hour program on March 13th.
Signs of Spring
Red-winged blackbirds, a spring migrant to the park, are already back and staking out their territory on the tall reeds surrounding Dragonfly Pond. Come see them and other birds at the Annual Burlington County Bird Quest 2009—mark your calendars for May 2, 7 AM to noon.