Conservation Education helps people of all ages understand and appreciate our natural resources and learn how to use those natural resources wisely, while sustaining those resources for future generations. Through structured educational experiences and activities targeted to varying age groups and populations, people can and develop critical thinking skills, cooperative problem-solving skills, and decision-making skills to balance the quality of life and the quality of the environment.. Conservation education also encourages people to act on their own to conserve natural resources and use them in a responsible manner by making informed resource decisions. Homer District values projects aimed to increase our understanding the complexities of ecological issues facing Alaska today.
In 2017 Homer Soil and Water joined up with Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom to release the newest set of lessons for the Alaska Indoor Gardening Curriculum. This work is supported in part by the Agriculture in the Classroom Grant no. 2017-38858 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and by a grant from the Alaska Farm Bureau.
This curriculum is a compilation of lessons developed by the Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom program, the National Agriculture in the Classroom (NAITC) organization, and educators throughout Alaska who have developed, reviewed, and piloted many these activities. Please be patient with us. This is a work in progress, some links are currently in development and will be available soon.
Landowner’s Guide for Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and Stariski Creek Watersheds were developed to increase awareness of how common land uses and activities can affect resources such as habitats, water quality, and natural areas for recreation; and, what actions landowners can take to help sustain these resources. The guide provides landowners with information on how to manage their lands and waters in ways that sustain salmon habitats and populations. The guide is organized in two sections; the first is a series of introductory articles covering basic information useful to landowners, including information about salmon and their life cycles and habitats, sustainable landuse practices, and best management practices. The second section of this guide is a watershedipedia (think Wikipedia for your watershed). This document is designed to be interactive with short entries with all things related to exploring and understanding your watershed. The point is to make it quick and easy for landowners to find whatever information they’re looking for.
Schoolyard habitat is a program developed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Through a Cooperative Agreement with FWS the Homer District has worked closely with area wide schools to convert their school grounds into an outdoor classroom by improving wildlife habitat features and integrating these features into their everyday lessons.
The Homer District can provide on-site technical assistance to educators, administrators, students, and community members who wish to create an effective, sustainable outdoor classroom and wildlife habitat on their school grounds. SYH restoration projects are designed to fulfill the mission and goals of the school, and should address multiple environmental and educational objectives. Typical projects include pollinator habitats, meadows, forests and wetlands.
In the summer of 2014 the Homer Distrcit entered into an agreement with the Kenai Peninsula School District to establish a pilot program to discover the feasibility of school market garden. The idea is to use the garden as a vehicle for instruction in life skills to the student volunteers. Skills include entrepreneurship, developing business plans, writing and following budgets, general farm skills such as growing and processing crops; packaging and transporting, marketing and sales. The pilot program is based on the community supported agriculture (CSA) model whereby subscriptions were sold to local businesses and individuals. The proceeds from the sales will be used to off-set their expenses, with any remaining funds being returned to the school to be reinvested in the garden program in following years. The District worked with Homer Flex School this past summer and successfully established a program to follow in the years to come. If you are interested in in this program or would like to have a subscription please contact our office.
The Alaska Envirothon is a state-wide educational competition sponsored by the Alaska Association of Conservation Districts. This annual competition is open for both high school and middle school students, and is focused on environmental issues. Students compete in teams of five to test their knowledge on the following five areas of study: forestry, ecology, soils/land use, aquatic ecology, wildlife management and current environmental issues. The Homer District has a long tradition of supporting teams by coordinating resources and guest presenters interested in forming teams for competition. Homer has produced several State Champions that have gone on to compete at the national level. Please contact our office if you are an educator and would like to participate in this program.
Speech and Poster Contests are sponsored by the Homer District and the Alaska Association of Conservation Districts. The contests provide an opportunity students to get acquainted with local soil and water districts and develop an understanding and responsibility for land stewardship. All students are invited and encouraged to participate. Poster Categories: K-1, 2-3, and 4-6.
Prizes for each category: $25.00 for 1st place, $15.00 for 2nd place, and $10.00 for 3rd place. The stewardship themes are announced in late Fall.
The speech contest encourages students in grades 7 – 12, to write an informative, well thought out, essay and speech that allows the development of good speaking skills and awareness for the environment. Local Speech Prizes: $100.00 for 1st place, $75.00 for 2nd place, and $50.00 for 3rd place. Theme are announced in conjunction with the annual poster contest.
Ag in the Classroom
Alaska Ag in the Classroom is a statewide program promoting agriculture in Alaska, and aims to improve student understanding that farms are the source of their food and flowers, as well as fabrics and fuels. Fairbanks SWCD is the coordinator for the Alaska Ag in the Classroom program and the Homer District can assist with bringing resources to Lower Peninsula for any educators looking to employ their programs. Feel free to contact our office for additional information.