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Students bring the outdoors in

Five Applied Learning grants totalling $3,800 were distributed this week to Oak Harbor teachers interested in expanding their classrooms into the great outdoors.

The Oak Harbor Education Foundation raised $3,520 at a recent community breakfast to fund the grants.

Foundation members surprised the winning teachers last week by announcing the winners in front of their peers, partly to give them the recognition they deserve but also to publicize the grants.

Applied Learning Grant selection committee member Robin Wynn said they had more money to give than teachers to receive it.

“We hope more teachers will apply next year,” she said.

Word of the grants is spreading. The number of grants distributed has increased from two in 2000, to four in 2001, and six last year.

Projects and teachers receiving grants were:

l Marine Science Research Experience, Oak Harbor High School with teachers Jonathan Frostad, Hannah Waldham and Gary Thayer, for $1,500.

In this project a team of 12 to 15 students will use a Remotely Operated Vehicle, sort of a mini-submarine, to conduct oceanographic research.

lCrescent Harbor Estuary Study and Restoration, North Whidbey Middle School, with teachers Brenda Struthers, Tim Lagerwey, Diane Fisken, Don Jenkins, for $500.

Students will continue salmon habitat restoration work with Island County, the Navy and the University of Washington. They will be measuring elements such as water quality and characteristics and changes in aquatic and terrestrial animal and plant populations.

l Nature Journaling and Publishing, North Whidbey Middle School, with teachers Jon Aesoph and Kelly Spence, for $500.

Students will take field trips to natural settings to sketch, then journal their experiences. These will be used to create personal nature journals and a natural history/environmental newspaper and Web site.

l The ABCs of Outdoor Etiquette, Oak Harbor Elementary, with teachers Stacy Donaldson, Val Jones, Terese Root, for $800.

Kindergarten students will use trips to Deception Pass State Park to study negative effects of human use on the park, then create an alphabet book with information on how to use the park.

l Mad About Science, Broad View Elementary, with teacher Brandy Ross, for $500.

Fifth grade students will spend half the year learning to be scientists, then head out to study the effects of plastics on the environment. They will gather data to explore the hypothesis that plastic harms birds and fish.

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