New Education Team for the Fall Season
By Gary Swick
For many years, Friends of the Fox River’s streams outreach education program was a one-man show, run by retired Johnsburg teacher David Rigby. In 2009, the project was funded by a federal grant for 3 years. The program quickly grew beyond Dave’s capacity.
Just in time, Cindy Wendt retired from the Elgin school district and became our one-teacher program leader in Elgin. Both programs involve 2,000 students annually. Now both of these exceptional teachers have moved on, so we’ve had the challenge of replacing the irreplaceable.
This year, several angels have swooped down to offer their services. We were able to staff our outreach team with a combination of young professionals and retired teachers. The seasoned teachers bring their wealth of experience managing learning in the field. The newer teachers bring energy and contemporary skills to the operation. Having a larger team has enabled us to double-book some days and serve more students and teachers.
Pictured (left) are Jess Fliginger and Earl Hansen awaiting students at Sleepy Hollow Creek on the campus of Prairie Ridge High School. We will post the photos and bios of the entire team on our website once the season slows in late October. For now, they are in a stream with students almost every day somewhere in the Fox River watershed.
One thing that is unique to Friends of the Fox River is our student based Fox River Watershed Monitoring Network. Magic happens when students physically connect with their neighborhood stream. Our educators, students, and their teachers feel the thrill every time. We need to expand our team for the spring season. Please contact Gary Swick (greenswick at gmail dot com) if you know anyone who may be interested in a paid position introducing students to the life in their local streams.