Associate Professor and Director of the MS Environmental Sciences Program Frederick Chambers and Senior Instructor Amanda Weaver of Geography and Environmental Sciences (GES) are now working on STEM initiatives with Prospect Valley Elementary, in Jefferson County.
They initiated conversations with the school in early 2014, after a successful year of programs at 5 Fridges Farm (a CU Denver research-site in Wheatridge) involving installation and monitoring of Chambers' online weather stations in 2013-2014, and the second year of Weaver's Sustainable Urban Agricultural Certificate program. The two decided to engage the nearby elementary school, and in Spring of 2014 organized an open-house between GES and Prospect Valley Elementary to discuss possible STEM based-activities to conduct with elementary students. After much guidance and encouragement from the school's principal, Mike Collins, and other Jefferson County school officials, the first curricular connections between GES and the elementary school began during the fall semester 2014. Prospect Valley third grade teachers, Christine Hoxie and Sherry Becker, organized a third and fourth grade girls STEM club and connected with Weaver to schedule visits from female science faculty. This fall both Christy Briles (Assistant Professor of GES) and Weaver are leading activities on palynology and geographic technologies, respectively. GES hopes to expand the program between Prospect Valley Elementary, 5 Fridges Farm, and faculty and students in GES as interest spreads among the elementary schools' teachers, students, and parents.