The Light Project
The Light Project - an acronym for literacy, inquiry, getting outside, having fun and time spent with family. The program was inspired by Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. The Light Project aims to get Darke County first graders interested in science and exploring the environments around them. The Project was created by Angela McMurry, K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist with the Darke County ESC and is a program that is funded and supported by The Light Foundation.
The idea is that when children are immersed in nature, the experience can inspire creativity, provides a blank slate for fantasy, offers a healing place for a child living in a destructive family or neighborhood, helps them to gain confidence, provides freedom and privacy for reflection. For families, nature discovery provides an opportunity to reconnect with each other and disconnect with the stresses of technology around them. For students, this program connects the standards for science with trade-books for children. The activities and journal writing encourage critical thinking, encourage real-world connections to classroom standards through use of science tools and challenge students to be change agents within their school buildings and communities.
The program supplies each Darke County Ohio School’s first grade classrooms with:
The first "Family Fun Adventure Day" kick off theme every year has been "Pond, Frogs, and Fish" and it is held at The Light Foundation's Chenoweth Trails Pond in the month of September. This year's event included a special reading of The World Is Waiting For You, family fishing and adventure at the pond, snacks and concluded with a reflective journal drawing and writing by the students. Volunteers from the Wayne Lakes Group Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs helped to facilitate the day this year by teaching first-time fishers how to bait their hook, set their bait, cast the line and release their catches. We had a huge turnout, and the students and their families enjoyed it! It was so heartwarming seeing the kids outside enjoying nature and interacting with their families!
Each month the Family Fun day features a different book and activity. Here is an example of a book, activity, and journal idea.
Woodpecker Wham! by April Pulley Sayre
Activity: Go on a woodpecker hunt! You can go throughout the year, as most woodpeckers do not migrate. Listen for their drumming on trees. Do you see holes in large trees? Can you locate wood chips on the ground? What other evidence can you find to suggest a woodpecker is in the area? If you spot a woodpecker, can you identify what type it is?
Journal Idea: Draw a picture of the woodpecker you discovered or the evidence of a woodpecker in the area. Why does the woodpecker stay in the ecosystem throughout the year (why don’t they migrate)? Write about it.
Extension: Install a suet feeder at your house. Set out sunflower seeds. Count how many woodpeckers visit the feeder. What other birds join the woodpecker at the feeders?