The Foley Environmental Education Center is a place of constant learning, using all of the teachable moments of nature to educate participants; however, we also teach several shorter segment classes throughout the week as Mini-Topics.
Every year our program varies due to the interest of our groups, the expertise of our staff and the "hot" topics in the news!
On arrival day at the center, students learn the basics of reading both digital and analog weather equipment (thermometers, barometers, wind indicators, etc.) and the basics of cloud identification. Every morning before breakfast and every evening before dinner, students take readings and, using a scientific formula, predict the weather for the upcoming day.
A famous figure at Foley! Dr. Earth is our Watcher of the Environment. Dr. Earth is always making sure we eat all of our food, turn off lights and stay on the walking paths. This Mini-Topic includes contests and games!
Using skeletons, drawings, games and models, we will discuss the two types of Minnesota bats (the Big Brown Bat and the Little Brown Bat) as well as the benefits of having them around!
Since these insects are a part of our Northern Minnesota wilderness, we take time to discuss prevention (students will learn what it means to "tick up") and the identification of the different species of ticks.
Presentation and discussion of Minnesota's invasive aquatic species including Zebra Mussels, Asian Carp, Eurasian Watermilfoil and more. See pictures, learn about their biology, and learn ways to prevent or slow down the advancement of these creatures.
Although not specifically an environmental focus, Foley spends time discussing the Six Pillars of Character - Respect, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Citizenship, Caring and Fairness. Evening "Chapel Talks" (for the Christian schools) or "Character Discussions" (for non-religious schools) allow students to reflect on the new things they learned/tried and to reflect on the character trait we focused on that day. Each character trait has a color assigned that the staff and students wear as a reminder to practice that trait throughout the day.