Stewards VISTA, Nicole Hobbs, with Marys River Watershed Council in Corvallis, OR, on the Willamette River where a group from a peer-mentor workshop play “eco” games and look at aquatic macro-invertebrates.
Feb. 11, 2020 | Nicole Hobbs, a VISTA with the Marys River Watershed Council in Corvallis, Oregon, assisted in a three-day peer mentor workshop where bi-lingual high school students learned environmental lessons and practiced teaching them to dual-immersion (Spanish-English) 3rd grade students.
The peer mentor workshop is part of a larger, multi-partner education program called the Willamette-Laja Migratory Bird Youth Education Program. The program began in 2018 and focuses on between 100-200 dual-immersion third-grade students in Benton County, Oregon. These third graders learn about similarities between their watershed and a sister watershed, Rio Laja in central Mexico, through the lens of migratory birds, native to both watersheds. These third grade students participate in field trips, classroom lessons, and peer-to-peer communication with students of a similar age in Mexico (they write letters and send recorded videos to each other.)
As part of this program, Marys River Watershed Council also annually trains a group of 12 Spanish-speaking high school peer mentors to help lead classroom and field lessons for the third graders. Nicole assisted with this workshop. The students spend the first day learning different stations: aquatic macro-invertebrates, terrestrial insects, bird ID, and plant ID. On the second day, they receive a workshop on how to teach and work with kids from a 4-H extension specialist and then they split up and practice leading stations and giving and receiving peer feedback. On the third and final day, the entire group takes a canoe trip on the Willamette River where they play “eco” games and look at more aquatic macro-invertebrates.
To learn more about the Peer Mentor Workshop and Willamette-Laja Program, you can visit https://www.mrwc.org/educate/.