As reported in the February 2022 Peligram, by David Cox, Ph, D, The Young Journalist Program (TYJ), currently mentoring over 60 fourth and fifth graders at nine elementary schools on how to become journalists and the Pelican Island Audubon Society (PIAS), are exploring a partnership to help students of the Audubon Advocates Program with reading and writing skills. Both organizations are located in Indian River County, FL.
The Young Journalist is an initiative of a local GuideStar Platinum 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organization. To date, since 2018, with six students at one elementary school, the organization has mentored over 185 fourth and fifth graders and published eight magazines of their student’s “scholarly articles.” In 2019 the Program was recognized by The Society of Professional Journalists, the oldest organization representing journalists in the United States, established in 1909.
The Audubon Advocates Program is aimed at students overcoming nature deficit disorder. Each group in the Program travels weekly to the Audubon House for a full semester of an after school exploratory science program. The students explore the trails of the Oslo Riverfront Conservation area, kayaking on the Indian River Lagoon, taking photographs, and writing in their journals about science and what they have seen. Over 500 students have graduated from this Program since 2015.
Students in the TYJ Program and Audubon Advocates Programs overlap at two Title One elementary schools in south county. Once PIAS students explore trails of the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, take photographs and kayak on the Indian River Lagoon they return to the PIAS campus to write in their journals. The idea would be for TYJ mentors to help develop their reading and writing skills, as they write in their journals.
In a joint statement, PIAS president, Dr Richard Baker and TYJ chairman Thomas Hardy indicated that they “agreed that collaborating to expand the reach of our respective programs could be a winning idea for both our organizations.”