Docents in an afternoon lab class
The "Garden Team" working in the Community Vegetable Garden. The garden is open at specified times September through November or until the end of harvest. All are welcomed to harvest fresh produce.
Junior Docents at the Closing Ceremony
During the six-weeks summer internship, junior docents are immersed in learning all about the history of Cobbs Creek Park and the Environmental Education Center. Docents study watersheds and wetlands and learn about the surroundings at the Center including: demonstration gardens, native species, animal and plant habitats, the local ecology of Cobbs Creek, and much more. Docent training includes work readiness training where participants work in teams to conduct research, study environmental issues, use the scientific method to carry out a team project, and participate in relevant educational field trips. The program uses the local environment as the context for standards-based, integrated, interdisciplinary problem-based learning (PBL)that fosters a wealth of knowledge about environmental education, environmental conservation and stewardship, team-building, peer coaching, “soft” work readiness skills, and docent etiquette. Docents “learn by doing” and are actively engaged in learning all the information they need to know to be effective tour guides. The information docents learn equips them to conduct tours, and the print media they develop is used during pre-tour readiness.
Cobbs Creek’s Junior Docent Program is a branch of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) summer employment program through a longstanding relationship with Communities In Schools of Philadelphia, Inc. (CIS). The partnership between the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center and Communities In Schools of Philadelphia dates back to the nationally acclaimed Park Management Program for Youth (1998), which was underwritten by CIS. For nearly two decades, Cobbs Creek and CIS have partnered to provide high school students from low-income families with an innovative structured educational improvement program during out-of-school time in the summer.
2015 Junior Docent (JD) Summer Internship
Junior Docents, “Educating the Public” (Theme of the JD Program)
A docent is a highly trained and knowledgeable “tour guide.”
The Junior Docent Educating the Public program is an environmental education outreach program designed to bring people to Cobbs Creek Park and to the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center. Junior docents conduct tours for visitors to Philadelphia and Cobbs Creek Park. They host environmental education field trips for public, parochial, private, and charter schools. The Junior Docent program empowers people with knowledge and best practices that generate environmental benefits through environmental education and stewardship.
Since 2010, Cobbs Creek has trained high school students to be docents. Cobbs Creek’s Junior Docent Internship program educates students in grades 9-12 to serve as docents (Junior Environmental Educators). Junior docents educate the public about the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center: its history, Cobbs Creek Park’s history, the Cobbs Creek Watershed, Naylor’s Run Wetland, on-site demonstration gardens, native species, and the local ecology of Cobbs Creek Park. Docents help citizens, especially residents who live in the area, to gain an understanding and appreciation for a healthy environment as well as residents’ role and responsibility in environmental stewardship.
The Junior Docent program is a two-year program that takes place during six-weeks in the summer and from October through May during the academic year. The Junior Docent Program consists of two components: (1) A Paid Six-Week Summer Internship training program in July and August, in partnership with Communities In Schools of Philadelphia, Inc. and (2) An Independent Study Practicum during the junior or senior year of high school in which trained docents are assigned to the Environmental Education Center as interns. Docents are paid during the summer internship and receive elective and/or community service credit during the school year. Docents can earn up to two credits over the two-year period provided participation is year-round and principals issue credit toward promotion and graduation requirements.
How docents are selected?
The Junior Docent Program operates in three partnership schools: Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, Motivation High School of the School District of Philadelphia, and Maritime Academy Charter School. Students are selected by their principals based on the following criteria:
Marks of "C or better" in current grade.
90% or better attendance during the current school year.
Interest in science; likes to study science.
Likes Outdoor activity: (hiking, gardening, stream studies, and landscaping groundskeeping.
Willingness to learn about the environment and to use your knowledge to "Educate the Public."
Positive attitude and likes working with a team.
Willingness to work six weeks during the summer in July and August as a paid intern.
Must commit to complete a "Quality" project for entrance in the George Washington Carver Science Fair.
Become a role model for other youth to emulate.
Willingness to conduct tours and work with CObbs Creek residents, visitors to Philadelphia, and school children.
School principal MUST AGREE to allow docents to serve as an on-site intern at the Environmental Education Center during some part of the school day at least once a week when schools are open for docents to conduct tours, host seminars and educational field trips, and develop informational materials used during tours.
Cobbs Creek Junior Docent Internship Program