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Displaying items by tag: Youth Engagement
Saturday, 27 June 2015 00:00

The Story of Us

A lot has been said about the youth of today, sparking a long-winded conversation regarding the merit of each generation.

Questions of generational inferiority, criminal intentions and crippling apathetic mindsets have all seemed to elicit less than flattering opinions about those of us set to inherit the nation. Conversations like these only rarely involve the subject of the discussion: teenagers. As an 18 year-old high school senior, I am left to wonder about the accuracy of this conclusion.

The High School Outdoor Leader Program is a two-year, environmental career internship for teens who have completed grades 9-10. Outdoor Leaders are trained in 8 areas including education, stewardship, research and community relations. In addition, Outdoor Leaders take two week-long research trips. This year they even organized and ran our 2013 Teen Survival Challenge!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 13:25

Why are You Here?

I have been working here at Washington Park for three years now and I must say that they have been three of the most memorable years of my life! I've had the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people — our staff, volunteers and community members — as we continue to grow the Washington Park branch into a wonderful destination for all of Milwaukee. Each day we learn a little bit more about the park and the community. And each day we are connecting kids and families to nature. I never think of our work as a job. It is a way of life with priceless benefits measured in kindness, awareness and "aha" moments.

It has been a huge year for the Young Scientists Club at Washington Park. Reflecting on it all, I can't even believe we've accomplished so much in such a short period of time! Longtime member Donald Harris did his best attempt to summarize exactly what we do in our club in a quote found later in this post. As I try to summarize it myself, I'm not even sure where to begin. What began as a way to engage drop-in kids at Washington Park has evolved into a dynamic, multi-faceted educational and recreational program that I'm proud to be a part of. I'll summarize for you a few of its many highlights over the past 12 months.

This past summer, we began a research partnership with the University of Minnesota's Driven to Discover program. The kids — with guidance from the staff — developed their own original bird research study and created a professional-quality research poster and paper. We then traveled to the University of Minnesota's insect fair, where we presented our research and won an Outstanding Project Award. Since then, our group of budding young scientists has also presented their work at our annual Community Science Research Summit, at the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative annual conference, and to a group of partnering teachers at our schools. As I write this, Donald is again presenting our work for the Hi-Mount Elementary science fair!

Thursday, 25 April 2013 12:48

Young Scientists Walking Across The Country

If you have visited the Washington Park Branch within the last three months, you have probably noticed the big map hanging up on the divider in the main classroom. And upon closer investigation you may have wondered what in the world our Young Scientists are doing by walking across America? Well, three months ago on Martin Luther King Day, we embarked on a grand adventure to walk across the country.

When the Young-Harris family welcomed me into their house on a cold Saturday morning, Donald and Donovin politely greeted me at the door. Golden sunlight streamed into their warm, cozy home, and they offered me a seat on their couch. Within moments, their mother Katrina Young-Harris walked into the living room where I sat with her boys, and she shared a smile so big and warm that I instantly felt “at home” with this family.

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