Humans Interacting with their Environment in Southwest Minnesota: An Environmental Curriculum for Yankton Country School

In the spring of 2001, the Yankton Country School in Balaton, Minnesota was awarded a grant to improve the design of their charter school program. Members of the school board called a planning meeting with representatives from Southwest State University. Afterward, the board consulted with Doug Spieles, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, and Beth Spieles, Environmental Information Officer, to develop a scientific concepts and applications curriculum based on the environment and agriculture. The curriculum centers on the theme that knowledge of local geographic orientation, climate, and landscape is critical to understanding environmental impacts on humans, flora, and fauna. The curriculum activities are drawn from five familiar national environmental education guides, four environmental science laboratory guides, and a local Department of Natural Resources publication. An outline of 29 possible activities is matched with inquiry questions and with chapters from the text, Draining the Great Oasis: An Environmental History of Murray County, Minnesota, eds. Anthony J. Amato, Janet Timmerman, and Joseph A. Amato. The three core teachers at Yankton Country School began incorporating the activities and text into the school's program in the next year.

Science and Technology 203
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State Street Marshall, MN 56258
Phone: (507) 537-6226
Fax: (507) 537-6147

Last updated: March 21, 2006