AYER — Everywhere you look these days, you can find information about “going green.” Being environmentally friendly is in the news, in politics, in the fashion industry and at the Ayer Middle High School.
AMHS technology teacher Barbara Dyer, an avid outdoorswoman, has been opening up the great outdoors for many of her students.
Dyer has served as chairman of the Worcester chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and for the past two years she has brought groups of students to the Mountain Classroom in New Hampshire for exposure to and education about the environment.
This fall, Dyer decided to broaden her attempts to inform students about the importance of caring about the outdoors, and she added teaching a high school class to her workload of middle school technology classes.
The new class offering at the high school is aptly named Mountain Classroom and it involves participating in weekly local hikes and learning about the Earth.
“I really love teaching this class,” Dyer said. “We have been partnering with people from the AMC, People of Ayer Concerned about the Environment (PACE) and the Ayer Greenways Committee to bring the outdoors to these kids. We are currently working together on trail building and maintenance, and I will be having my students create field guides for public use of the various habitats right here in Ayer.”
One of her favorite spots in Ayer is the Habitat Trail, by Pine Meadow Pond, where her students have observed a variety of birds, snapping turtles, beavers, foxes and an osprey nest. The popularity of Dyer’s class has grown greatly since its inception in September. She began with eight students and is now almost triple that in size. “The kids tell me it is their favorite class and they really look forward to coming. That makes it so worthwhile for me,” she said.
“I do this because it is my passion; conservation is where I think the world is going. We only have one Earth and we need to protect it. I want these kids to see that one group can make a difference in the world they can make a difference.”