Learning rooted in outdoor science

Michael Ismari is a man all about the roots in every sense of the word.  He spends his time thinking about sustainability, education and deepening roots figuratively and literally.  He is fastidious in how he approaches science as he connects students through experiential learning in the real world.  In fact, what started out as a garden club has taken off so quickly, they can’t keep up with the wiki page the students created to compliment the program a few years ago.  Simply put, they are too busy learning in real spaces which have replaced any time spent in cyberspaces.

Michael like many tireless leaders has spent time thinking about his practice area, his network in order to identify new possibilities through conversations and a thoughtful grant application process.  The seeds he is sowing extend far beyond this school program, but rather serves as a model for other organizations to engage in new approaches to outdoor science.  In fact, he won the award for Excellence in Environmental Education.

He is opening hearts and minds for our inner city youth who can now do more than just read text books to learn about seeds, roots and the true meaning of ‘taking hold’.  Instead, he is instilling the countless value lessons that use the real world laboratories involving dirt, hard work, nurturing, recycling and the importance of resilience as important attributes for success in life.  Now that is practical science we can all rally around.

It’s a story of schools supporting schools, which is commonplace in tight knit communities such as the Reno Tahoe Area school called Smithridge Elementary, which is right across the street from Pine Junior High School.  A mutually beneficial program that resulted in a $12,000 grant from the CSA to build a school garden initially.  Today this Outdoor Science Learning Center has gained recognition through being awarded the distinguished DRI Environmental Award.  Currently the Pine Garden is involved with the Northern Nevada Food Bank and the Team-Up 21st Century Learning Program to produce a fundraiser to insure school garden sustainability.   In fact, the Edible Classroom at the Washoe County School District, Washoe County School District Team Up, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, UNR 4-H Mentoring and the Food Bank are allowing kids to learn great life lessons and have fun way in a delicious way through the program.  Also, check out their upcoming event at La Vecchia at:  http://goo.gl/6tKCF.  Thank you.

Real Family in a Real Community

The Klein family has roots in the Midwest and so when we discovered the National Geographic Wild show called, “the Incredible Dr. Pol”, we immediately felt ‘at home’ because it is. 

1.)   Unscripted

2.)   Real down to earth people

3.)   It’s educational, informative and inspirational and

4.)   Based on real animals, real people and real families

Therefore, when I was visiting my family this week in Michigan, we took a trip over to visit the Pol Vet Clinic to possibly get an opportunity for my daughters to meet the doctor and get behind the scenes.

True to form, this clinic feels inviting as it is swarming with animal owners that are in need of a trusted medical advisor for some type of ailment or preventative service.  From the moment you walk in the door, you feel safe in this haven.  No fancy iPads to review procedures, but traditional smiles, warm personalities and great wall art made up of locals who share their animals for adoption, services available or upcoming events like roller derby.  Yes folks, it was awesome for me to see the real people behind the scenes continue to act normal.  Nothing has changed for them but their ability to expand their reach to more people, drive more connectedness through the show and educate more people.  In fact, I understand that the local television providers don’t carry his show; so many farmers will congregate in homes of folks that happen to have access to the show.   They got the invite through Diane Jr., their Social Media Manager who invites patients through their traditional communication mechanisms to turn into the series.  But otherwise, it’s business as usual.

Employees are encouraged to have wall art, create their workspace to be their own and connect and support one another in the ‘family’ approach to business.  Really not a far cry from what Google tries to do by allowing people to draw on the wall.  As someone who spans a heart from the Midwest but a career in Silicon Valley, I was in awe of this special place.  My daughter wants to become a vet, but perhaps it was just what makes my heart sing

I personally want to thank Dr. Pol and his family for being authentic, for your tireless advocacy for this important science and practice as well as your authentic approach to community.  Additionally, for the executive producer at Nat Geo Wild and team that took the risk to support an important void that has existed in reality based programming.  Send out some tweet love via @natgeo  #drpol or check them out on Facebook.