Dam construction update, June 15: Visitors are no longer able to cross the outlet works. There will be no access to the Bittern Marsh Trail or east side of the river during this time.


There will be no access to the pavilion and Beaver Pond parking area on weekdays through July 3. These parking lots will be available for use on weekends. This will include the following areas and trails: Bittern Marsh, Redbud, Cicada, Green Dragon and Cottonwood Trails. Only the Blackjack will remain unaffected during this time. Access will not be available east of the pavilion at a later undetermined date. 


Students in the Environment


“Across the country and around the world, growing numbers of educators are using the environment as a focal point for teaching…Across disciplines, teachers find that students are engaged in learning, feel challenged, and often perform better in school when they are studying their local environment.”

– Gene E. Carter, Executive Director, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

For many years now educators have been aware of the positive results of engaging students in hands-on, discovery learning through the study of their environment. Recent quantitative studies have measured the effectiveness of environmental education in America's schools. The results are notable. The Pew Charitable Trust supported a study (Closing the Achievement Gap) which evaluated 40 schools that used the environment as an integrated context for learning.

The results included:

  • Better performance on standardized measures of academic achievement in reading, writing, social studies, math and science
  • Reduced discipline and classroom management problems
  • Development of problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making skills
  • Increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning
  • Greater pride and ownership in their school work

The study can be ordered at

A 2000 study by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (Environment-based Education: Creating High Performance Schools and Students) had similar findings. According to that report, “The results in all of the schools studied are impressive and heartening, as the nation searches for effective ways to improve the quality of education for our children.”

The results showed:

  • Reading and math scores improved.
  • Students performed better in science and social studies.
  • Students developed the ability to transfer their knowledge from familiar to unfamiliar contexts.
  • Students learned to “do science” rather than just “learn about science.”
  • Classroom discipline problems declined.
  • All students had an opportunity to learn at a higher level.

The study can be found at

In addition to meeting the needs of schools for quality educational programs, environmental education helps build an informed citizenry for the future. As humanity wrestles with global warming, habitat loss, and other issues, the need for an environmentally literate population is increasingly important. The ability to understand the functioning of the earth systems that we depend upon begins with education.

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