ExPLORE NC | Guide to Outdoor Learning
Natural Environments of the Tar-Pamlico River Basin
This document provides an overview of the Tar-Pamlico River Basin including the area it covers and various land use and water bodies within. In preparation for the activities below, please also reference How to Identify Your Stream for instructions on using an online map to locate a stream near your school.
Observing Ecosystem Response to Human Activity: An Exploration of the School Yard
This lesson encourages students to collect and use quantitative and observational data to describe their school yard while learning about the positive and negative impacts of the school on the physical environment. After completion, students will describe their local ecosystem and identify the changes that have occurred.
We All Live in a Watershed
Through describing how components of the water cycle occur in the school yard, students will apply knowledge of the concept of gravity to determine which direction water flows. Furthermore, students will interpret measurements to calculate area and volume of water while defining the watershed.
Exploring the Waters of the Tar-Pamlico
This lesson will help students identify components of a river system and further apply this knowledge by demonstrating an ability to find their location within the river basin using online resources. As a result of the their discoveries, students will describe the importance of water for human settlement.
Exploring the Ecosystems of Eastern North Carolina
While describing and comparing the characteristics of several common ecosystems found in eastern North Carolina, students will compare and contrast local ecosystems found on their school grounds. Prior to executing this lesson, identify at least 3 different local ecosystems on or near school grounds that students can access and collect data.
The River Food Web
This lesson will assist students in explaining the role of bacteria as primary consumers in the food web. Students will also explain how energy moves through and ecosystem and how ecosystems recycle carbon. As a result, students will obtain a better understanding about how scientists study ecosystems.
Here’s to the Land of the Longleaf Pine
Through evaluating the environmental and economic costs and benefits of land decisions, students will compare and contrast the positive and negative effects of human activity on the physical environment. In effect, students will describe the economic factors influencing human activity in the Tar-Pamlico basin.
Mills and the Changing Landscape
This lesson will help students to describe how humans have changed the landscape to meet their basic needs. Students should know the definintion of a river basin and the name of the river basin where they live. Lesson and related resources developed by Toni Stadelman, K-12 Science Specialist for Franklin County Schools, NC.
Full EGRET Curriculum
This link includes all of the lessons above in one document. The EGRET Program was designed to engage 5th grade teachers, in the Tar-Pamlico region, in hands-on, inquiry-based activities integrated across content areas that will prepare them to incorporate current, place-based content into their classrooms, sparking student interest in conservation and environmental stewardship. Access the PowerPoint slides here.
Environmental Education Centers in the Tar-Pamlico Region
- Goose Creek State Park | Contact: Doug Lequire
- A Time for Science Nature and Science Learning Center | Contact: Maria McDaniel
- River Park North | Contact: Christopher Horrigan
- NC Museum of Natural Sciences | Contact: Chris Goforth (Citizen Science)
- Coastal Studies Institute | Contact: David Sybert
- Jennette’s Pier (part of NC Aquariums) | Contact: Christin Brown
- Medoc Mountain State Park | Contact: Sandra Farmbrough or Ryan Newsome
- Vollmer Farm | Contact: Russ Vollmer
- Teaching in the Outdoors, A Green Teacher ebook. 2014. Edited by Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn
- Nature Neighborhood: Creating a Place for Wildlife and Learning
- The MINTS Book (Model Inquiries into Nature for Teaching Science)
- How Lucky We Are lesson plan (courtesy of Nancy Bray and A Time for Science Nature and Science Learning Center)
- NC State Parks – Natural Resources Inventory
Other Professional Development Opportunities
Sarah Yelton, Environmental Education & Citizen Science Program Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 919-966-0895
Megan Rodgers, Public Science and Internship Coordinator
email@example.com | 919-966-7238