About 10 teachers from South Carolina hiked through woods and waded in a creek during summer break 2016 to learn about the environment through the Bad Creek Outdoor Classroom.
Clemson University runs the program, which is taught by faculty members and Duke Energy scientists. For the past four years, the Duke Energy Foundation has sponsored the program for kindergarten through 12th grade teachers from Title 1 schools (schools with high numbers of low-income students). During the school year, teachers can bring their students for hands-on learning. More than 3,000 students have participated in the Bad Creek Outdoor Classroom.
During the week-long summer class, teachers explore the relationships of water resources, energy production and environmental stewardship at Duke Energy's Bad Creek hydroelectric plant. Clemson hosts a website where the teachers can exchange lessons plans and incorporate what they’ve learned into their classroom materials. The teachers also receive science supplies and books to use in their classrooms.
But most importantly, the teachers have fun as they learn how individual components (like plants, wildlife, geology) come together to form a functioning ecosystem.