PC Hosts Open House for Educators


PC's new Lighthouse Learning Lab

Pontchartrain Conservancy hosts open house for educators in the Basin.

On a lovely summer evening, educators from around Pontchartrain Basin attended Pontchartrain Conservancy Educator Open House.  Attendees were served a light dinner consisting of pasta, salad, desserts and drinks that were generously donated by Bravo Cucina Italiana, Second Line Brewery, and a PC docent.  The atmosphere was relaxed and inviting with a fantastic jazz playlist, a light breeze, and colorful sailboats dotting the lake as a backdrop.  Before the programming presentation, guests were free to wander the grounds and the museum at PC's New Canal Lighthouse, participate in hands-on activities with components of the new Land Loss and Restoration lab, the revamped Multiple Lines of Defense Lab, and PC’s new Lakefront Learning Lab. 

With everyone fed, PC's Education Coordinator Kimberly Cooke revealed details about our new STEM programming.  “Critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration: these are central to our revamped programming.  Our labs are hands-on and inquiry-driven,” shared Ms. Cooke.  Educators learned that PC has three locations for labs to take-place: the New Canal Lighthouse, a restored urban marsh on Bayou Saint John, and at the schools.  Participants have four environmental educational tracks that their students can participate in at PC facilities or at their schools: Climate Science, Water Quality, Coastal Science, or Cross-Curricular.  Labs include everything from Wetlands 101 to Micro-plastics.  Ms. Cooke also shared grant-funded opportunities for Title I schools including their deep dive water quality program, Water Watch that allows participating schools to have a water quality-based lab once a month for a semester that is shaped by the students’ driving question. 

PC partners tabled the event, as well.  The Green Project, Core Element, The Brown Foundation, the STEM Library Lab, and New Orleans Public Libraries were on-hand to share information about their services and resources with the educators.  Educators heard about everything from access to books and STEM materials to professional development and funding for service learning projects.

Several lucky educators walked away with raffle prizes including a membership to The Green Project, local restaurant gift certificates, a Pontchartrain Conservancy t-shirt and a “Save Our Coast” hat, as well as totes from the Brown Foundation. 

Participants shared their feedback via a survey and comments included, “I liked the set-up, the music, the time taken to explain programming, and the feeling of community that it inspired.” Other likes included “…the surprising amount of support offered to teachers from a variety of organizations, but in particular, from PC!”  Educators seemed to walk away happy and informed while looking forward to sharing these resources with their students.

PC’s education pages are currently being updated with the new, mostly free, lab options.  In the meantime, please contact Ms. Cooke at kimberly@saveourlake.org to schedule a visit, ask more questions, make an appointment to align PC programs to your scope and sequence, and to let us know you are interested in one of our deep dive programs.