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The Coover Regional Grant through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks

The Louis and Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program is a partnership between Commerce Trust Company and Community Foundation of the Ozarks. The Coover Program supports new and innovative programs or projects that address regional needs through advocacy, public education or capacity building.

Our goal with the Coover Regional grant will be to continue and enhance the successful place based programming and resources that we offer to the schools and communities in our area during the 2007-2008 school year. These programs are well accepted in the schools, and we look forward to the opportunity to build on this success.

Stories of Place Based Education

When our Project staff and volunteers are asked about how they measure the impact of their work, they invariably tell stories. There’s the youngsters rushing to create paper bugs to add to their food web mural when it becomes obvious that without these tiny animals their web will collapse. There's the veteran teacher who says "I'd forgotten I could be this excited about teaching." There's the child pondering the tray of wiggling macro-invertebrates he's helped to pluck from a kicknet who says " I never knew all those guys were in the creek." There's the 8th grader perched on a rock in a spring fed river working in her nature journal. There's the boys who beg to skip recess to continue working on their block prints of native plants that they drew while on a field trip.

With the help of funding from the Coover Regional Grant through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, we continued to create these stories of place based education. We added to our repertory of programs by building on what we learned. We continued to integrate arts programming with core curriculum. We helped local institutions build capacity to serve as learning centers. We maintained and improved our online resources. We brought volunteers into education, and we brought children out of classrooms to learn.


In 2007, the Coover Regional Grant supported existing programming, adding one new program and expansions of existing programs. Our objectives for this $21,055 grant were:
We will continue to integrate arts programming with core curriculum.
We will help local institutions build capacity to serve as learning centers. 
We will maintain and improve our online resources.   
We will bring volunteers into education, and we will bring children out of classrooms to learn.

Who was/are the beneficiaries of the Coover supported programs?   
During the one year grant period we served 1876 students at six community sites, engaged more than 30 community volunteers in direct work with students, and provided practical experience in hands on education for 24 preservice elementary educators.

Three ArtStream programs were conducted, serving 385 students at West Plains Elementary and Mountain Grove Elementary School.  The multidisciplinary process, guided by our educational specialist and our teaching artist/naturalist, moved from classroom studies to outdoor drawing field study, then culminated with linoleum block printmaking from the students’ field drawings. Twelve people volunteered in the ArtStream programs, most of them on multiple days.

Stream Days/Outdoors Aware
Six Stream Days were held on the Bryant and the Eleven Point Rivers serving a total of 437 students from seven schools. Topics included watersheds and karst topography, woodlands, riparian buffer zone and stream ecology. Students practiced nature journaling and drawing, surveyed macro-invertebrates and the riparian corridor, and used field guides to identify plant and animal life.
Expanding the former Stream Day program we have now renamed Outdoors Aware, the field experience at Tingler Prairie Conservation Area was developed by our staff, working with Missouri Department of Conservation Ethnobotanist Rhonda Rimer. 142 West Plains Elementary students participated in three hour field experience, with a focus on plant and habitat studies. 

History Works
Fourth graders from seven area schools attended “History Works” at the Harlin Museum on October 23, 24, and 25.  The 360 students represented the following schools; Fairview, Glenwood, Howell Valley, Junction Hill, Richards, South Fork, and West Plains Elementary. Each student attended four sessions while at the museum, working with vintage tools, interacting with actors playing the role of Ozark pioneers and the artist/historian Lennis Broadfoot, and sketching in charcoal. More than 20 volunteers make this complex event run smoothly.
We were unable to complete the anticipated pilot of the Who’s Working Today portrait and interview expansion to History Works. Design and implementation planning issues for getting cameras, children and workers together are complex. We had teachers who were very interested, but when we could not have it ready to go immediately following History Works, enthusiasm waned. We have plans to try the program out with after school and summer school programs at two schools. The draft lesson plan and assessment of the potential for the project in the future is here(link to pdf).

Geometric Pieces
175 third grade students from three schools participated in “Geometric Pieces” on November 7 & 8 at the Harlin Museum.  The hands-on multidisciplinary experience introduced third grade students to basic geometric shapes and functions used in third grade curriculum. Students worked with local quilt artist, Susan Lumsden, who led the students through her special piecing technique. Each student created a paper quilt square which was taken back to class and displayed as a class geometric quilt.  Students also explored traditional quilt patterns made from triangles using a giant floor puzzle created by teaching artist Pat Hight. Wanda Byrd led a session using storybooks to introduce the youngsters to the history of quilts and the geometry of patchwork.

Waterfest is an annual six hour water festival offered to all 4th graders in Howell County, organized through a collaborative effort between BWEP, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Howell County Extension. In addition to planning and producing one of the workshop sessions, BWEP educator Wanda Byrd coordinates the participation of Missouri State University elementary education students. This year 377 students from eight schools attended. 24 college students presented the workshops, with support from four more community volunteers.


For more information about Community Foundation of the Ozarks, visit their Web site.

This is the Web site of the Bryant Watershed Education Project, based in West Plains, Missouri. Our site is a toolkit for exploring the Bryant Creek, North Fork, Eleven Point and Upper Spring watersheds in the southern Missouri Ozarks.
Learn more.