The Haley Project was created in honor of Richard Haley, a well-known and inspirational environmental educator who died in a car accident in June 2006. His impact as an educator is well known, and in our shared spirit of education, investing in and inspiring youth, this program was created to introduce disadvantaged children to the natural world, giving them the opportunity to learn, experience, and ultimately become invested stewards of their global and regional environment.
Each year, hundreds of youth from area Title I schools (high percentages of children from low-income families) receive a high-quality hands-on experience in nature, including science and environmental education that is directly applicable to the classroom.
Two science study field trips provide hands-on science, natural history, and 21st learning skills carried out by our skilled Environmental Educators.
New Canaan Nature Center Field Trip
First, each class visits the New Canaan Nature Center for a full day program that explores our watershed areas (e.g., ponds, marshlands, streams, vernal pools) and links these areas to the vitality and health of the entire region. Program components include:
- Watershed Hike and Ponding Collections
- Wildlife Food Webs
- Long Island Sound in a Jar
Calf Pasture Beach Field Trip
A second field trip takes classes to Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to allow students to see firsthand how their watershed fairs in health and vibrancy, and how their own community impacts the area both positively and negatively. Program components include:
- Beach Exploration & Seine Net Collections
- Deadly Links Food Web Activity
- Beach Scavenger Hunt & Clean Up
Most importantly, the program provides a unique opportunity for underprivileged communities to connect to the natural world by learning, experiencing, and ultimately becoming invested in the protection of our environment. All too often local urban and low-income youth face a lack of access to green spaces and nature-based educational experiences. This restricts access to the cognitive, emotional, and other development benefits that come with enjoying time in the great outdoors. The Haley Project addresses these disparities by helping to foster students’ relationships with the environment, build environmental literacy, and encourage sustainable environmentally responsible behaviors.
Our Programs are Well Received By Teachers!
“What a great experience! Out students were delighted to meet the animals, use nets to fish out living creatures in the pond, and attempt to de-pollute the water during the science experiment! Your staff members were incredible, inspiring, and so knowledgeable.” –Steven
“The seining activity was just incredible! It was such a unique experience for my students who had never seen waders before. They were so excited to get their hands dirty and see what wildlife there was in their community.” –Samantha
“The students loved going to the beach. Not only was this something new they could experience (many of them had never been before!), but they were also able to make real life connections with the curriculum we learned.” –Dana