The KidsConnect program is designed to bring education resources and access to technology to underserved youth, ages 8-13, while also bringing them closer to nature through understanding conservation. Library outreach workers in Greensboro, High Point, and Forsyth County are trained in using the Field Trip Earth site and curriculum materials developed for the KidsConnect program and are then provided with more advanced technology training. The library staffs select community-based partners and provide training to their staffs who offer programming to underserved youth and bring the curriculum, technology and hands-on experiences to their students.
Each site uses Field Trip Earth to learn about conservation and its importance to our planet and then selects a local project to research and act on. All projects integrate the use of technology and the building of literacy skills into their efforts.
This year the sites consisted of five locations, including an international program site with English as a second language. Student projects were documented using technology. Presentations about their experiences were created using power point, animation and other programs.
Throughout the program students also communicate using an on-line community created for the project. In late summer, 200 students gather at the Zoo to celebrate what they have accomplished and to make presentations, and to receive recognition for “Saving a piece of the world for wildlife.” Some students that age out of the program still help as mentors and are given special recognition and a small gift. Leadership skills are also developed as students take responsibilities in the day, make presentations and host display tables.
Community participation in the program has grown, as has the number of youth served. But the most important growth has come in the students who gain stronger literacy skills, improved technology skills and discover their leadership skills and find that they can make a difference in saving a piece of the world of wildlife. Over the years the program has expanded and impacted more students, leveraged library resources and expanded the capacity of the partnering organizations.
Recognition of the program has included a visit by local Dell representatives, media attention, and publication in Boys and Girls Club magazine and on Fox 8 TV; and designation by the N.C. Extension Service of High Point program’s garden as a “Community Garden”. This garden was included on the “Master Gardeners Training Tour” and listed on the state website. Students have also made presentations to City Council and other civic groups to share what they have learned and to advocate for the environmental issues they were working on.
To learn more about the program and see presentations and more information about the project, go to If you would like to see what kids have done, go to http://kidsconnect-nc.org/ or contact Kathy Bull, NC Zoological Society at 336-879-7286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.