With the help of our Community Partners Lower Cape Television, The Brewster Conservation Trust and The Association To Preserve Cape Cod, the Brewster Ponds Coalition has launched a new Virtual Children's Pond Education Program. The program consists of a series of seven originally produced videos that Brewster science teachers use for classroom and in-home learning, which were created during this Covid era, when field trips were not possible. The videos are now available for parents and children to view on the Brewster Ponds Coalition website by clicking here. There is also a robust list of additional instructional resource links and videos.
“Pond Education for school children in Brewster public schools is one of the BPC’s signature programs,” said Susan Bridges, President of the Brewster Ponds Coalition. The curriculum teaches the children about the importance of protecting the environment and pond health. In prior years, the program ended with a pond field trip filled with hands-on learning activities and a puppet show. “Covid prevented an in-person field trip this year, but our dedicated Pond Education team worked hard all winter and spring to create a wonderful virtual program that was presented in classrooms earlier this month and is now ready to share with anyone who visits our website,” she said. “We are very grateful to JM O’Reilly and Associates for sponsoring our Pond Education program and to our partners at Lower Cape Television, The Brewster Conservation Trust and APCC (The Association To Preserve Cape Cod) for joining us in communicating the launch of this important effort.”
Marcia Kielb, Chairperson of the Ponds Education Committee, explains the process the committee used during COVID to continue the program. “Many techniques were used to record the videos including iphones, laptops, ZOOM, Google, cameras, green screens, etc. with the assistance of high school intern, Bennett Hartley. We all learned to do many new things during this trying time,” she said.
Cape Cod authors helped record some of their writings and illustrations. The Brewster Bookstore, another business partner of BPC, also assisted.
Kielb added, “As a remembrance for completing the BPC Ponds Education program, the 5th graders and their teachers were given take-away bags provided by BPC filled with many water-related items including water bottles from the Brewster Water Department, Susan Baur’s book A Guide to the Best Ponds on Cape Cod, and other printed materials about how to care for ponds.”
The Brewster Ponds Coalition embarked on the planning, development and execution of the Children’s Pond Education Program in 2017. The program provides teachers with grade appropriate Pond Kits which include detailed Pond Curriculum Guides, lesson plans, classroom activities, games, crafts and reference materials, and culminates in an end of school year field trip to a Brewster Pond. BPC volunteers coordinate with the schools’ science teachers in aligning the curriculum according to grade level and scheduling the pond trips.
Once at the pond, students are treated to a puppet show performed by BPC docent volunteers, and then collect, observe, investigate and identify pond creatures at hula hoop research stations. Students also learn which macroinvertebrates indicate a “healthy pond.”
Since the program’s inception, more than 600 students have experienced this unique and wonderful program in person, and no fewer than 33 BPC volunteers have welcomed school buses and students to the pond. This year alone, 198 Brewster 2nd, 3rd and 5th grade students and 14 teachers utilized the program.
Now with these new videos and the reach of the internet, thousands more will enjoy this program!
BPC volunteers create the Pond Kits, which are donated to local schools and “refreshed” annually. BPC volunteers are also involved in a wide range of other activities from helping to prepare materials, setting up at the pond, cleaning, storing and transporting equipment, performing in the puppet show, and working with students pond-side!
Brewster has more pond acreage than any town on Cape Cod. The Brewster Ponds Coalition formed in 2014 with the mission of “protecting the health, beauty and enjoyment” of the town's 83 ponds.
The Brewster Ponds Coalition is an all-volunteer 501(C) 3 charitable nonprofit organization with more than 70 volunteers actively involved in protecting pond health and improving water quality.