Forty-five science teachers from different public elementary schools in Palau participated in a five-day camp at the northern most states in Palau. The camp, sponsored by Ebiil Society, is a hands-on workshop challenging teachers to create a more interactive, and fun learning milieu for their students; instead of teaching in the classroom within the four walls, the teachers are encouraged to take students outside to their environment to see, touch, experience, and witness the habitats which they are studying. Ebiil has found that school-age children enjoy Outdoor Classroom strategies that they have been offering because it allows students to be immersed in the environment which stimulate curiosity, hence deeper appreciation for learning and application.
On the first day, the forty-five science teachers, accompanied by their instructor, Ms. Ann Singeo, descended historical Ngerchokl watershed and meandered through the woods to the river which once held the magical powers to keep one young forever. Beside its historical significance, the teachers learned the importance of watershed and its contribution to the health of the forest and the surrounding environment, including the ocean.
Other “classrooms” included Ebiil channel, Ngerkeklau, and Kayangel. They roamed the forests at Ngaraard, trudged the mangroves of Ollei, drifted in the Ebiil channel, sauntered the sun-kissed beaches of Kayangel atolls, all the while observing, counting, calculating, measuring and collecting data for statistical analyses. At Ngerkeklau they saw the endangered species of trees and learned their history, as well as the various migratory habits of turtles, fish and endemic birds. It was a real classroom and many teachers were excited to learn and share their highlights with one another. On the Friday, as the teachers boarded the boat to depart from Ollei Hatoba, one of them profusely thanked the Ebiil staff saying, “this is the best workshop we’ve had. “
The camp, sponsored and spearheaded by Ebiil Society in partnership with public school system to introduce outdoor classroom concept to science teachers, was the first of its kind for them. However, the concept has been practiced in Ebiil since its inception and it is proven to be successful and enjoyable to both the staff and the students. Debbie Nagata, of Public school system hopes that this hands on workshop will continue and expects that more of their teachers will participate next year. Ebiil Society is internationally known for its efforts in marine conservation and various environmental projects. [/restrict]