As school starts up this September, Essex County teachers who attended this year’s Park for Every Classroom week-long institute at Salem Maritime National Historic Site are preparing to use what they learned with their students and community partners. This award-winning program, offered jointly by Essex Heritage and the National Park Service, offers graduate credit and mini-grants to teachers who create place-based service learning projects in their communities after receiving summer training.
During this year’s August institute, teachers connected with local resources themselves, exploring the offerings at Salem Maritime, taking a boat trip to Baker’s Island, analyzing water quality through macro-invertebrate identification on the Merrimack River with Groundwork Lawrence, and creating their own place-based poems in a writing workshop led by Andover Breadloaf. Through these and many other experiences, the teachers became immersed in the PBSL ideals of stewardship, service, and academic rigor. They are now creating plans to implement projects based on those ideals in Lynn, Lawrence, Georgetown, Haverhill, Marblehead, Danvers, Peabody, and Hamilton-Wenham.
One teacher participant noted about the institute experience, “I felt like a kid again and loved looking at the world around me with eyes of wonder. I can’t wait to give my students the same opportunity.”
Generous funding from the Cummings Foundation, the New England Biolabs Foundation, and the National Park Service makes this program possible.