4-H Wildlife Stewards: A Master Science Educators Program Final Report
As teachers respond to the demands of educational reform and strive to meet increasing pressures of educational benchmarks and standards, there is less and less time to utilize innovative teaching techniques. Education reform expectations, coupled with increasing class size and shrinking budgets has significantly impacted the way that science education is delivered in schools. 4-H Wildlife Stewards, a Master Science Educator's Program was developed in response to these emerging concerns in science education. The program is based on the premise that trained volunteer Master Science Educators, referred to in the program, and in the remainder of this report, as 4-H Wildlife Stewards, can play a role in science education by providing science learning opportunities that teachers are unable to do in the current educational climate. 4-H Wildlife Stewards are trained parent and community volunteers who: Work with teachers, students, parents, and other volunteers to develop a habitat or other natural science projects on school grounds. The habitat is then used as an outdoor science laboratory. Assist in helping youth develop and evaluate research projects in the habitat. Assist teachers in science education by providing materials, curricula and science expertise. Teach and lead science inquiry lessons in the habitat. The 4-H Wildlife Stewards Master Science Educators program began in 1996 in the Portland, Oregon area. The program was an immediate hit and quickly grew, with significant demonstrated impact on students, schools, and communities. A grant from National Science Foundation was secured to expand the program beyond the Portland Metro area to other areas across Oregon. This document reports the findings of the summative evaluation of the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Master Science Educators program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The report includes information on data collection, sources, and methods; an evaluation of the volunteer trainings; program impact evaluations from volunteers and teachers; a snapshot of the impact of the program on student science interest and skills; an exploration of the ingredients needed for the program to be most effective; and a summary of national dissemination efforts to date. The report concludes with the evaluator's summary, commendations and recommendations. The appendix of this report contains evaluation surveys and protocols.
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