Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm is nature sanctuary, educational facility, and sustainable farm which is located just north of Dayton, Ohio near the Dayton International Airport. Aullwood’s mission, as stated on their website, reads “Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, an Audubon Center for environmental education and sustainable agriculture, provides activities thatincrease understanding and preservation of the planet by children and adults through education, research and recreation.” Furthermore, as part of the National Audubon Society, Aullwood works to preserve and steward natural habitats so as to promote biodiversity, particularly focusing on birds. Read more about the mission and efforts of the National Audubon society here.
Aullwood offers many educational opportunities for both children and adults, including (but in no way limited to) the Aullwood Adventures Preschool which is part of the Miami Valley Head Start program for children and families experiencing economic hardship, summer and winter Earth Adventures classes for children in preschool to seventh grade, field trip programs for students of all ages, Center for Lifelong Learning classes for adults, the Winter Speaker Series, and a wide variety of events such as guided hikes, community festivals, and workshops. Find out about upcoming events at Aullwood.
For my fourth and final Co-op I am employed as an Education Intern here at Aullwood. The first month of my Co-op was primarily spent planning and teaching Summer Earth Adventures classes. During this time I assisted with an Earth Arts class for 2nd and 3rd graders, and taught an Animal Friends class for 4 and 5 year olds, a Nature Memory books class for 1st graders, and a Wetland Warriors class for students in 5th through 7th grade. My other responsibilities include helping out with chores at the Aullwood Farm and caring for the education and rehabilitation animals which live at the nature center, some of my favorites being a 6 foot long Black Rat Snake, a number of aquatic turtles, a crayfish, and a hive of honeybees. I have also taken on a variety of individual projects, the most ambitious of which being a sculptural installation piece inspired by bioluminescent fungi, which will be displayed at Aullwood’s GLOW: Nature at Night community event at the end of October.
I am pursuing a self-design degree at Antioch, which is entitled Communicating the Natural World. This degree program combines Environmental Sciences with Media Arts, focusing on using media arts as a tool with which to educate the public on environmental issues. This Co-op has fit seamlessly with my educational goals, allowing me to explore how to effectively engage children of various age groups in learning and caring about nature, an important step in building an environmentally conscious public.