Education Outreach - Van Purchase with Wrap
Members of the Dougherty County Rotary have charged themselves to support educational enrichment programs with support of The Parks and Zoo at Chehaw, www.chehaw.org. Chehaw, whose funds have been cut 3% annually, provides educational programs to K-12 schools in 16 Southwest Georgia Counties. The van utilized to transport staff and animals has reached the end of its useful life and the programs are at risk of being discontinued. We have committed to purchase a new van to show our support for the valuable educational support provided by Chehaw.
Georgia has a history of challenges when it comes to educational attainment. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education granted Georgia a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) replaced NCLB, and is the new accountability system that reports Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurement in Georgia. Improving education in Georgia is a complicated issue as the state has one of the top 10 K-12 poverty rates in the nation. Southwest Georgia, in the 2nd Congressional District, is no exception to the educational and poverty challenges faced in the state.
In 2013, just one year after the required reporting, the state agency said the average score for Georgia's elementary schools is 83.4; middle schools is 81.4 and high schools is 72.6. Comparing just one Southwest Georgia county, Dougherty, it is evident that education in our community needs our assistance. Dougherty County’s AYP in 2013 was 68.2 for elementary, middle school 72, and high school 57.4. educational achievement This is no surprise given the rate of poverty for Dougherty County, is just over 30%, compared to that of Georgia at 19%.
Education in our community has seen modest improvement over the past few years. “However, we all admit and understand that there is still much work to be done” said Dr. Inyang, Associate Superintendent for Academic Services in the Dougherty County School System.
Most studies relate the poverty rate to the lack of education. That said,, to improve poverty, education must be the top priority in our area, and we cannot expect the school system to do all the work. During fiscal year 2015/16, Chehaw provided educational outreach to over 39,000 children. Dougherty County Rotary is committed to providing the funds to purchase a new van for Chehaw, so they can continue providing quality education programs in the schools.
Who is Chehaw: Chehaw is driven by its mission of inspiring people to connect with nature and encouraging conservation action through positive recreational and educational experiences. The Park, founded close to eight decades ago, has expanded to an 800 acre campus and includes a Zoo that houses hundreds of animals in naturalistic exhibits and annually hosts over 100,000 visitors. From the Zoo to the endless recreational opportunities, Chehaw has an activity for every visitor.
Chehaw has grown their outreach programs and touched the lives of 16,305 children in 11 counties to 39,829 in 16 counties over the past four years. Their enrichment programs meet the Georgia Performance Standards, thus provide a valuable addition to our educational system. In addition to outreach, they offer weekend programs and camps at the park.
Chehaw Education Program Numbers (delivered by staff)
Counties visited (Outreach)
Reasons zoos are effective educational tools for formal learning:
- The animals are real and have universal draw.
- The learning is active, outside the confines of four walls.
- Different learning styles can easily be accommodated.
- Zoos offer the ultimate in interdisciplinary education offering science, math, language, and social science:
Environmental and conservation
Weights and measures
Comprehension through questions
* Chehaw/Rotary Volunteer Kickoff Event: 50-100 volunteers: At this event, the new Educational Outreach Van and volunteer opportunities will be presented for 2017-2018. (Volunteers will consist of Rotarians, Rotarian Families, Parents, Educations, Chehaw Staff and local community)
* Chehaw/Rotary Volunteer Day: Sea Mobile will visit Chehaw Park in support of World Ocean's Day: "Chehaw will be celebrating World Ocean’s Day for the fifth year in a row. The focal point of the day is the mobile touch tank that Gulf Specimen Marine Lab brings from Panacea, FL. We always have many other educational opportunities with guest educators plus hands on learning games and activities."
This event is wonderful for the residents of Southwest Georgia,. So many people in the Albany area don’t get the chance to go to the beach or see what lives in the ocean, so this event brings the ocean to them. World Ocean’s day is very important to water conservation, it’s very hard to be passionate about something if you don’t care. Exposing guests to ocean inhabitants help create and drive that passion for the environment and help people see that what we do inland affects the ocean.
* Chehaw/Rotary Volunteer Summer Camp: Besides providing funds to purchase a van for Chehaw, the Doughtery County Rotary will engage in ongoing education programs and clean up days beginning in summer of 2017. Our intent is to develop a variety of programs that will address the educational topics above, zoo interests, and a community concern. For instance, Rotarians will offer a Water Conservation Program during 8 camps during 2016. This initiative will involve a minimum of 20 volunteer and will be kicked off in celebration of World Ocean's Day. Our effort supports Rotary District 6900 commitment to sponsor water conservation projects as noted in the Clean Water Bulletin. We have other programs in development, such as a Social Science issue of Human Trafficking Awareness. We see our service to Chehaw and the community as a long term investment.
Rotary Club of Dougherty County 30th Anniversary Celebration: Rotarians worked with volunteers to plant 30 fruit trees on our club's 30th anniversary to help provide food for the animals in the Wild Animal Park
Dougherty County Rotary has a history of good media coverage, and gaining media support to showcase Rotary efforts to buy the van for Chehaw during our kickoff celebration. We anticipate excellent media coverage as Rotarians deliver Water Conservation Programs to camp participants, Sea Mobile & other educational opportunities. Excitingly, we have made arrangements to sponsor the Chehaw van and will benefit for years by the Rotary logo proudly displayed on the rear door. That means we will show our support for the educational programs offered at Chehaw for the life of the van.
Every Christmas Holiday, Chehaw presents a Festival of Lights: This year, there will be a Rotary Emblem as part of the Festival of Lights, for The Dougherty County Rotary Club, "Making a Difference"