Governor Engler Commends UK2K Program. DNR's Cartoon Characters Sandy Dunes and Forrest Trails to accompany teachers into Urban England's Classrooms

Contact: John Truscott (517) 335-6397

Later this month, a group of 15 Central Michigan University education majors will travel to Enfield, England, to participate in a new study abroad teaching program. The visit to Enfield, a borough of London, is expected to provide the future educators with diversity experience in an urban setting.

As part of their teaching experience, CMU student teachers will use the DNR's award-winning Michigan LAP's Project material (Learn from the past, Appreciate the present, Preserve our outdoor heritage!) to teach the English children about Michigan and its natural resources.

Cartoon characters Sandy Dunes and Forrest Trails, designed specifically for the curriculum, take students on a tour of Michigan State Parks without having to leave the classroom. The curriculum is aligned with the Michigan Curriculum Framework Content Standards and Benchmarks, and features teaching lessons in areas of Social Studies, Language Arts, Assessment, Science, Math, Art and Music. It is also designed to achieve objectives and benchmarks under the Michigan Educational Assessment Program.

"The LAP's Program shows a real commitment to not only interdisciplinary education, but to the conservation of Michigan's natural resources," said Governor Engler. "The DNR has taken an innovative approach to informing, educating and involving today's youth in the conservation effort."

The fourth grade supplemental history curriculum was introduced to more than 6,800 schools throughout Michigan last November. It was honored for its innovative excellence by the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Michigan Recreation and Park Association. In addition, the curriculum was awarded the Daniel Flaherty Park Excellence Award, which is considered the most prestigious parks and recreation award that cities, counties, park districts and state agencies in the Midwest can compete for on an annual basis.

CMU's office of International Education helped coordinate the trip and prepare the students for their travel abroad. For eight weeks, these future educators will gain valuable classroom experience, teaching students ranging from grades K-12.

Marguerite Terrill, a faculty member in the College of Education and Human Services who will accompany the student teachers to London and supervise them during their two-month stay, said the LAP's Project is a natural for the trip.

"The comprehensive teaching manual definitely is on the cutting edge of education and contains valuable information for teachers, even before they begin to use it in the classroom," Terrill said. The material offers an excellent opportunity to compare geographical locations, language variations, curriculum and cultures in general. Most of all, it makes teaching fun."

All the learning is not confined to classroom settings, however. Some day trips are planned for the CMU students so that they can take in some of England's rich history.

"These are future teachers, and I want them to leave England with a heightened appreciation of diversity, both at home and abroad, and a better understanding of global perspectives," Terrill said.

CMU students participating in the teaching program in Enfield, England
Jodi Aslanian, of Trenton Bethany Gomez, of Muskegon
Becky Berbertz, of Reese  Tennille Hileski, of Allegan
Lisa Burns, of Cass City  Robin Ill, of Millington
Mandy Corner, of Cadillac Laura Juopperi, of Hazel Park
Emily Deaton, of Plainwell  Michelle Lee, of Port Huron
Laura DeLisle, of Fenton  Amanda McConnell, of Rosebush
Julie Cordier, of Owosso  Brooke Smethhurst, of Gaylord
Alicia Thomas, of Detroit  


Editor's Note: For more information, please contact the DNR at (517) 335-4873.