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ECHS enhances natural sciences

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Escambia County High School has been selected as a pilot school for Project Community.
Project Community is a program to help enhance natural science education in Alabama schools.
According to Donna Revel, Escambia County Board of Education attendance officer and community education coordinator, Escambia County High School was one of the 12 schools chosen because of a program created by Jackie Word with Turtle Point Science Center and Shirley West, formerly with Turtle Point.
"They came up with a program called BBUG, a pilot program for the school system," Revel said.
Project Building Backyard Urban Greenspaces (BBUG) is a program in which parents attend a training session at Turtle Point that lasts half a day. Turtle Point provides the parents with a backpack full of different tools they would need to create their greenspace. Such tools include binoculars, a compass, a camera, a birdhouse, birdseed, books, a ruler, a magnifying lens, plus much more. The value of the backpack is $200, but free to the parents and their children. Project BBUG is also known as Discovering Alabama in Your Own Backyard.
Project Community is a pilot educational program that uses the TV series, "Discovering Alabama," to make learning relevant locally.
"They came down and videoed Shirley's program (BBUG) for 'Discovering Alabama,'" Revel said. "Parents and educators were invited to come. I feel like the reason we were chosen for Project Community was because of the work that was done by Shirley and Jackie. I feel like that's why we were selected as one of the pilot projects to promote school involvement and exploring natural sciences."
Project Community will focus on the natural resources of the Atmore community. Teachers will receive free resources that are intended to spark scientific curiosity, instill awareness for conservation and to enhance learning that supports state academic standards.
The free resource was announced last week by state superintendent of education Joe Morton, Project Community director Dr. Doug Phillips, Soil and Water Conservation Commission executive director Steve Cauthen, Alabama Association of Conservation Districts president Craig Sizemore; classroom teacher and Project Community coordinator Beth Stevens and Alabama commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks.
The other 11 pilot schools for the 2007-08 school year include, Russellville High School, Austin High School, Cherokee County High School, Locust Fork High School, Sulligent School, Paul Bryant High School, Keith Middle-High School, Booker T. Washington High School, Pike County High School, Headland High School and Fruitdale High School.
For more information about the program, visit www.discoveringalabama.com.