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Experience The AWE-someness of Project AWE

Project AWE is an extraordinary program that offers a wealth of enriching experiences. Our 2nd-3rd graders dive into lessons on pollination, seed-to-table concepts, and the fascinating world of honeybees, worms, and chickens. Meanwhile, our 4th-5th graders explore gardening, composting, hydroponics, dairy cow farming, and even leatherworking in our workshops.

What’s more, each station is aligned with Science State Standards, ensuring an educational journey that’s as rigorous as it is exciting! It’s no wonder teachers can’t stop singing the praises of Project AWE!

We’ve been on many field trips, and this one tops as a favorite. From beginning to end, there was excellent communication, lessons linked to standards, engaging docents, and even fun takeaways (the kids and parents were so impressed with the leather tags and plants that grew just a few days later). And it was FREE! Thank you for an amazing hands-on opportunity for my Title 1 students. – Participating Teacher

We want to share the activities and achievements of the 2023-2024 school year as we reflect on some fascinating events from Project AWE.

  • 100 field trips
  • 200 classes
  • Over 5,000 students (2nd-5th grade)
  • 16 Paid Staff

In this featured article, we’re delighted to have Beth Bartkowski, Project AWE Program Manager, share her firsthand account of students’ transformative experiences with nature’s wonders, including Monarch Butterflies, Great Horned Owls, and more.

Every 40 minutes, a new group eagerly checked to see if any changes were afoot, hoping to witness the caterpillar’s transformation into a chrysalis. And guess what? By the time the group left, it had turned into a chrysalis – nature at its finest!

We’ve discovered five chrysalises, but we suspect there are many more hidden gems waiting to be discovered!

Now, let’s talk about milkweed! This year, we introduced narrow-leaf and Showy milkweed. After allowing the milkweed to go to seed and dry out, we use it to teach about wind dispersal in our 2nd/3rd-grade program, highlighting the concept of a circular economy.

Spring is always full of surprises at our sanctuary! Our resident pair of Great Horned Owls returned to their nest, and we were thrilled to count three owlets. The other day, they fledged and found a new tree to explore – our field trip attendees were in for a treat!

But wait, there’s more! Our pair of Red-Tailed Hawks, John Henry and Leana Nicolaus, also made their grand return to the nest. For weeks, we’ve been watching the two babies in the nest, and one of our dedicated docents, a bird enthusiast, even brings her bird scope for up-close viewing. Imagine the excitement when one of the babies fled right into the field while students were working in the row crops – it was a moment of pure exhilaration!

Beth’s heartfelt account underscores her love for nature, animal life, and student education, which are vital reasons behind Project AWE’s success. It takes passionate and dedicated staff like Beth to keep this mission alive. Thank you, Beth, for your invaluable contribution!


Click here to learn more about Project AWE.