The Catawba Project Aims to Solve Environmental Problems
John Jones, Teacher at Adler Avenue Middle School and Project Advisor, The Catawba Project, speaks with Steve Adubato about the environmental education program designed to bring Township leaders, environmentalists, parents and community leaders together to solve environmental problems.
"We are pleased to be joined by John Jones, Teacher at Alder Avenue Middle School, at Cataw... and a Catawba Project Advisor. Before we go any further John, Catawba Project Advisor? I... in all the years I've been doing this, I've never introduced someone that way. What is Catawba? Well Catawba is a Native American word that... in our area, there were Native Americans, who in... Your area meaning Egg Harbor? Egg Harbor Township, yeah. And what it was... Catawba means "people of the water" - and the project started out as doing stream assessments. Even before I became a teacher, there was Adopt-A-River program, where teachers went out and did water testing. And it just morphed into Catawba, and it just seemed like a better way to market our program. Talk about your journey into the classroom as a teacher. You didn't start out that way? No I didn't. I sort of came out of college and went into landscaping, and I had a... you know, a landscape company where we designed and installed landscapes. And I went to school for ornamental horticulture, and kind of took my path into teaching that way, because in the Winters, I wasn't active. So I went into schools and substituted for, like, seven years. And then realized, you know, I really had a passion for teaching. So I decided to make the transition. So it's interesting. This whole outdoor education thing that we've been doing... not "thing" - this initiative, and by the way, the panel discussion, check it out on our website if you missed the broadcast itself, and you're a part of that forum that we're having. Mm hmm. How do you define outdoor education? I just see outdoor education as an opportunity for the kids to experience learning without being contained within the four walls of the classroom. I mean I really do feel that, with all of the different learning styles that you have out in the classroom amongst the students, it's great for them to be able to open up their senses a little bit more by experiencing the outdoor classroom. So, you know, instead of learning lessons, you know, for example, you know, the life cycle of a frog... How long ago? Is this part of the Catawba Project? Yeah. The life cycle of a frog. I interrupted you. Go ahead. I'm sorry. Well I'm just saying that, you know, it's just a lesson that can be learned better outside by experience and, you know, through all the senses, rather than just seeing it and hearing about it. How would you do it? Well, we have a pond in our outdoor classroom. So you know, we..."