University News

Faculty, Students Collaborate with Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to Create Curriculum Matierial

A group of University environmental science majors are developing a variety of interpretive and educational materials along with the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park as part of a collaborative agreement signed by the University and the national park last June.

The students—environmental science majors Evan Gerry, Matthew? Heye, Danielle Nichols, and Christine Thompson, and earth science major Ralph Scimeca—are researching and drafting curriculum and study materials for Paterson teachers and students on the geology and hydrology of the region, designed to meet New Jersey common core state standards, as well as interpretive materials and displays for the national park that describe the industrialization of Paterson, the country’s first planned city. They are working closely with William Paterson environmental science faculty mentors Mick Griffiths and Nicole Davi, and Ilyse Goldman, supervisory park ranger at the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, to create the materials, which will be used by both the park and local K-12 teachers to teach students about the environmental aspects of the park. The project has also expanded to include the Paterson Museum, which is partnering with the national park to provide educational outreach.

“This is truly a student- led project,” says Davi of the initiative, which is funded by a grant from the Landsberger Foundation. “It is a terrific opportunity for the students to gain hands-on research experience, while providing?a vital community education service in working with the Paterson school district,?the national park, and the Paterson Museum.”

Scimeca, who is also majoring in secondary and middle school education, is currently designing lesson plans that will be piloted?in several Paterson public schools later in the spring and next fall. “It is exciting to be involved in taking concepts that are required in the curriculum and turning them into actual lesson plans and activities for teachers and students. I’m really looking forward to piloting them in a classroom with students,” he says.

As an outgrowth of the project, two of the students, Evan Gerry and Danielle Nichols, have been accepted into the 2014 National Park Service Academy, which provides training and hands-on experiences for young men and women interested in career opportunities in the National Park Service. Gerry and Nichols will each spend the summer of 2014 in a paid internship learning how to manage national parks and networking with key National Park Service leaders.