Clear Spring School receives two grants for beekeeping program
The Clear Spring School received two grants to support and expand their beekeeping program. A grant from the Whole Kids Foundation “Bee Cause” program supported the costs of moving the bees to our new hands-on learning campus and provided funding for new fencing and a pollinator garden. As part of the Bee Cause grant the school received an extensive packet of curriculum for our educational project. An additional grant from the Arkansas Game & Fish - Conservation Education Grant Program has provided funding for additional child size bee suits, garden beds, and the materials to build two additional bee hives. “Clear Spring has had the program for a few years but the last two years we have had the benefit of a professional beekeeper, Bethany Ellen Smith of Sedge and Bee Apiary to help us work with students and teachers” said Head of School, Jessica FitzPatrick. This year Bethany will be teaching beekeeping classes at the school as part of our expanded hands-on learning and outdoor education program. “We are very excited to have Bethany’s expertise, and are looking forward to finishing the bee garden so we can move the bees later this fall. Construction has begun on the new fenced-in garden and it should be finished by the start of school on September 15th ”commented FitzPatrick.
River Studies Program at Clear Spring School Receives two Grants
Clear Spring School received two outdoor education grants that funded naturalist, Juanita Crider’s River Studies project. The Nature Conservancy and Kings River Watershed Partnership grants, co-funded the “River Studies” program, as this year’s primary science block for middle and high school students. River studies was a comprehensive curriculum focused specifically on the “health” of our local streams and rivers. The course offered hands-on activities including bug kits to identify invertebrates that can indicate the health of our waterways, and water testing sampling to look for potential pollutants or changes in water quality.
High School students collecting water and macroinvertebrate samples
According to Crider, “We assessed the physical, chemical, and biological parameters of Mill Branch Creek and multiple locations on the Kings River. The physical component taught students how to subjectively evaluate each habitat and riparian zone. The biological assessment taught students how to collect macroinvertebrates and identify if the species were tolerant, sensitive, or somewhat sensitive to pollution. Once all three assessments were complete, the students had a holistic view of the water quality at each specific location.” In addition, both groups of students were required to prepare a presentation for the Kings River Partnership Annual Meeting which has been postponed because of social distancing criteria. Jessica FitzPatrick comments “that we hope the students will still have an opportunity to present their findings as they all worked very hard to prepare their research.” The school will be presenting the artwork and water studies projects to the parents and school community digitally on their website and in their upcoming digital newsletter.
Upper Middle students testing samples
Arkansas Artist in Residence Grant Awarded to Clear Spring School
The Clear Spring School was a recipient of an Arkansas Arts Council, Artist in Residency Grant for the 2019-20 school year. The grant for $1,170 was matched by the school to fund additional art programming with Arts Council Roster Artist, Dawn Ward. Ward, an arts educator for the past 26 years submitted a project to create “Discovery Books” with Clear Spring Students which included teaching the students a variety of art techniques and processes that could be used to make their books. Ward notes “that the experience of teaching at The Clear Spring School has been extraordinary and I am so proud of what the students have accomplished this year.” Ward comments that the students learned a variety of printmaking skills, studied design, painted, marbled paper and were getting ready to make their own recycled paper before schools were closed for the rest of the spring semester. Students were also working on circle weaving projects and will continue to complete both projects from home with continued help from Ward. She plans on showcasing the work with a virtual gallery later this month.