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September 2, 2008

Introduction to ECOS for Parents

Environmental Center for Our Schools
Springfield Public Schools – Springfield, Massachusetts

At the height of the environmental movement, Springfield Public School educators Lorraine Ide and Clifford A. Phaneuf realized the necessity of educating students to appreciate and understand their role in nature. Working in collaboration with the Springfield Park Department and the School Department, these two innovative teachers opened the Environmental Center for Our Schools in 1970. This unique school has now provided an exciting environmental education program for generations of Springfield residents.
ECOS is designed for elementary and middle school students in Springfield. Each student and her/his teacher spend two school days at the Clifford A. Phaneuf Environmental Center in Forest Park. Students are transported from their school to Forest Park each morning and returned to their school in time for dismissal.

The 750 acres of Forest Park provide a classroom which contains a treasure of environmental experiences. Some students have never had the opportunity to explore natural areas. ECOS provides an activity centered program in which students can expand their knowledge of the natural world by exploring the diverse habitats of the park.


ECOS is staffed by certified teachers interested in environment education, adept at using the outdoors as a teaching tool, and skilled in the discovery method of teaching. The ECOS staff is assisted by the students’ classroom teacher a well as parents and visitors.


Students should wear appropriate clothes for the outdoors, such as jeans, sweatshirts, sneakers or boots, etc. Since the program is held outside throughout the school year, students should dress according to the season and weather. Students should dress in layers because it is always a little cooler in the forest. They can always take off a sweatshirt if it gets warmer. (For a guide to dressing for Winter Survival see "6th-Grade Activities.")


Lunches are handled the same way as in school. Students who bring lunch to school should bring their lunch to ECOS. Students who receive a school lunch will receive their school lunch at ECOS.


Get in to your spirit of adventure! Get into some old clothes, dress for the weather, pack a lunch and tell your child’s teacher you would like to accompany the class to ECOS for one day or the entire session. We look forward to having you join us.


Sign the permission slip and return it to school as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact the school or your child’s teacher.
We look forward to having your child participate in the ECOS program and hope you will consider joining us also.

Ron St. Amand, Director of Science

Posted by mpdoran at September 2, 2008 9:31 PM