I can think of no finer stewards for the park, history and facilities at the soon-to-be-rebuilt Frick Environmental Center than the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. I say this with confidence as an educator who has worked closely with them for five years, bringing 400-plus students in grades K-8 to Frick Park for ongoing educational programming.
I’ve seen firsthand the care and expertise they bring to their work. Their knowledge and respect for the landscape and its myriad component parts, and the complex relationships that exist within the park’s system are inherent to every program. Students are given the opportunity, as part of programs designed to build upon one another, to contribute to the stewardship of the park, learning by doing.
Experiential learning is essential to helping our students master science and math concepts. It’s also critical to developing their connections to the natural world. Perhaps most importantly, the type of experiences young people have in Parks Conservancy programs enrich their lives in intangible ways that stay with them.
The plans for the new Environmental Center are both context-sensitive and inspiring. It will be an ideal fit for the vision established for Frick Park, and for the needs of our diverse region.
The writer is director of science instruction and programming for Propel Schools.