Teacher Shares the Fruits of IdahoPTV Summer Coding Camps

Kari Wardle, IdahoPTV’s teacher ambassador, has seen her share of classrooms this year.

As one of only five educators nationwide selected for the inaugural PBS Teacher Community Program, Wardle has been helping teachers in rural Idaho school districts incorporate technology and digital media in the classroom. She’s also been helping them gain access to professional development through virtual field trips, webinars and teacher meet-ups.

Recently, the Twin Falls Times-News reported on Wardle’s work in the Wendell School District. They caught up with her on “Tech Talk Thursday” as she demonstrated creating and sharing digital documents using Google Docs — a tool teachers can use both to collaborate with other teachers and to give students quick feedback on assignments submitted digitally.

If you’re curious what the long-range results of Wardle’s efforts look like in the classroom, check out these photos sent in by a teacher in Marsing.

A Marsing third-grader codes an animated Mayflower scene. Photo: Ken Price
A Marsing third-grader codes an animated scene aboard the Mayflower. Photo: Ken Price

Over the summer, Wardle taught “coding camps” to teachers in southwest Idaho utilizing ScratchJr, an animated coding app that helps students create interactive stories and games. She discussed with Marsing teacher Ken Price ways to implement coding into the curriculum.

Price reported back a few months into the school year that students were enthusiastically embracing their creative coding skills.

“What you see in these pictures are kids writing code to depict scenes and characters found in Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims,” Price said. The book, a historical novel for young readers written by Rush Limbaugh, tells the story of a middle-school history teacher named Rush Revere who travels back in time to the deck of the Mayflower.

“In one picture you have a third-grade student writing code to produce his idea of the Mayflower,” Price said. “The other one is another third-grader who created the characters Liberty the talking horse and Rush Revere in his coding work.”

“Thanks again for all your support in advancing the learning of Marsing youth,” Price said. “Now you see in these photos that your efforts are bringing about some amazing activities.”

Another Marsing third-grader creates a scene with Rush Revere and his talking horse. Photo: Ken Price
Another Marsing third-grader creates a scene with Rush Revere and his talking horse. Photo: Ken Price

‘H Is For Hawk’ Screening Features Live Birds of Prey

Audiences will get a bird’s-eye view of some majestic Idaho raptors during a screening of the Nature documentary H Is For Hawk: A New Chapter.

Falconers and raptor biologists from the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey and Boise State University’s Intermountain Bird Observatory will be on hand with live hawks and will answer questions from the audience.

The event takes place Tuesday, November 14, from 6 to 8 PM in the Meridian Middle School auditorium [map]. This all-ages event is free to the public. No registration is required.

A raptor featured in the "Nature" documentary "H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter." Photo credit: Rahoul Ghose/PBS
A raptor featured in the Nature documentary H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter. Photo credit: Rahoul Ghose/PBS

Idaho Public Television will present a screening of the one-hour Nature documentary H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter, which features the continuing saga of author Helen Macdonald.

After the unexpected death of her photojournalist father, Macdonald overcame her grief by training an adult goshawk, one of nature’s most notoriously wild and free-spirited birds of prey. She had trained birds before, but never this goshawk named Mabel. Macdonald found healing in that cathartic experience, which became the basis for her 2014 memoir, H Is for Hawk.

Now, 10 years after training Mabel (who died of an untreatable infection just before the author finished writing her book), Macdonald is ready to take on the challenge again, prompted by watching how a pair of wild goshawks reared their chicks in an English forest. This Nature film accompanies her on visits to the pair’s nest to observe the latest developments and follows Macdonald’s emotional and intimate journey as she adopts a young goshawk and attempts to raise it as her own: feeding, nurturing, and training her new charge in the hopes the months of preparation will culminate in a successful first free flight.

‘Wild Kratts’ Fans Meet the Kratt Brothers in Boise

Fans of the PBS Kids program Wild Kratts got a chance to meet the show’s stars, Martin and Chris Kratt, in Boise on October 1. The Kratt brothers were in town for two performances of Wild Kratts Live!, part of the 2017-2018 Fred Meyer Broadway in Boise season at the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. The show is a live theatrical presentation based on the animated television series.

Students from Donnelly Elementary School went behind the scenes to meet Martin and Chris Kratt during the Boise performance of Wild Kratts Live!
Students from Donnelly Elementary School go behind the scenes to meet Martin and Chris Kratt before a Boise performance of Wild Kratts Live!

Wild Kratts Live! begins with the Kratt brothers donning their Creature Power vests to give comical but educational demonstrations about the abilities of wild animals. Then the brothers receive a message that their archenemy, Zach, and his Zachbots have stolen one of the Wild Kratts’ favorite inventions. With their amazing animal abilities, the brothers set off to confront the bumbling villain. The Kratts’ technology doesn’t always work as planned, which results in pratfalls and slapstick fun, but the brothers press on and ultimately rescue their invention from Zach’s clutches.

A limited number of fans had the chance to go behind the scenes and meet Martin and Chris Kratt before each performance.

“My sons love the Wild Kratts show. When I saw there was an opportunity for my sons to meet the Kratt brothers, it didn’t take me long to decide to move on it,” says IdahoPTV viewer Samantha Marshall. “I felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to meet the heroes who have taught them so many fantastic creature facts. Since my niece and nephew also enjoy the show, I thought it would be a great family adventure. And, indeed, it was. We all had a marvelous time. Not only was Wild Kratts Live! an energetic and engaging program, but the meet-and-greet afterwards was all we had hoped it would be. My sons and their cousins were delighted to meet Chris and Martin and to be able to ask them questions. Plus, Martin queried each one about their favorite creature. It was truly an opportunity my sons won’t soon forget. Thank you, Idaho Public Television, for providing such a wonderful experience for my family and me!”

Teena Wright, Idaho Public Television’s membership director, says, “Children’s education is a big part of what we do at IdahoPTV. Community events such as Wild Kratts Live! are fun and meaningful ways for us to engage our community partners like the Morrison Center, our donors and their families around our commitment to quality educational programming.”

New ‘Science Trek’ Video Shorts Explore Botany

Idaho Public Television’s original series Science Trek explores the anatomy of plants, discovers which plants are edible, and visits the Idaho Botanical Garden in a series of video shorts on botany released in October.

Science Trek BotanyEach month, Science Trek explores a subject with digital shorts available on the Science Trek website, on a Facebook page for parents and teachers, on YouTube, and on PBS LearningMedia, a free media site for preK-12 educators.

The following video shorts will be available on these platforms in October:

Botany: The Basics – Botany is the study of plants. Learn the parts of the plant, how they make food and how they keep us alive.

Botany: Idaho Botanical Garden – Take a tour of parts of the Idaho Botanical Garden to learn more about the plants around us. Find out more about the English garden, carnivorous plants, and some interesting ways to grow food. Elizabeth Dickey, education director for the Idaho Botanical Garden, is interviewed.

Botany: Edible Plants – Earth has more than 80,000 edible plants, yet we eat only a small fraction of those.  Science Trek shows you some alternative plants to try at your next dinner.

Botany: Record Plants – Plants are pretty amazing. Find out which ones set records.

Botany: Fruit or Vegetable – Some things we call a vegetable are actually fruits, unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes.

Botany: Seeds – Seeds are how plants begin, but seeds come in all shapes and sizes. Find out more about seeds.

Science Trek is made possible through funding from Idaho National Laboratory.

IdahoPTV Honors Its Volunteers

On September 21, Idaho Public Television held its annual volunteer appreciation event at its studios in Boise. Volunteers were treated to dinner, thanked for their service, and shown previews of upcoming local and national programs that their volunteer work makes possible.

Volunteers honored by Idaho Public Television

According to Shane Chariton, IdahoPTV major giving director, volunteers across the state worked 5,380 hours this past year. Using a $24.14 average value of a volunteer hour (calculated annually by Independent Sector), that’s the equivalent of $129,873 donated as volunteer work — funds that were able to be put toward programs and activities that support IdahoPTV’s mission: to encourage lifelong learning, connect Idaho communities, and enrich the lives of all Idahoans.

Jerry Finnegan (left) honored as IdahoPTV volunteer of the year by Shane Chariton (right).
Jerry Finnegan (left) honored as IdahoPTV volunteer of the year by Shane Chariton (right).

Jerry Finnegan (pictured) was named Idaho Public Television’s volunteer of the year. “We notice and appreciate Jerry’s positive energy and enthusiasm for IdahoPTV year after year as a volunteer camera operator,” Chariton says.

Jerry’s son, Brian, and wife, Betty, have also volunteered along with Jerry. Betty, who passed away in 2014, was also remembered and honored during the event.

“The staff of Idaho Public Television wishes to thank all of our wonderful volunteers,” Chariton says. “We are incredibly grateful for you!”

Rachelle Anderson Joins IdahoPTV Development Team

Rachelle Anderson
Rachelle Anderson

Idaho Public Television is happy to announce that Rachelle Anderson has joined the IdahoPTV development team. As a grant writer, Anderson is responsible for researching funders and writing grant applications and reports that support the fundraising efforts for IdahoPTV’s local productions, community and educational outreach projects, and programming.

Anderson’s experience with public media started at KUED Channel 7 in Salt Lake City as their community outreach specialist. Anderson created statewide campaigns that educated, entertained, and brought the power of public media to local communities.

After years of leading community outreach efforts, Anderson joined the KUED development team, where she managed the membership department’s day-to-day operations and supported fundraising efforts. Prior to her work in public broadcasting, Anderson worked in government relations, advertising, and consulting local nonprofits.

‘Outdoor Idaho’ Examines the Fate of Idaho’s Wild Horses

Outdoor Idaho kicks off its 35th season with a look at Idaho’s Wild Horses (October 19 at 8 PM and October 22 at 7 PM). Mustangs are a symbol of our Western tradition, yet they are often reviled, as they compete for resources with livestock and wildlife in an ever-changing environment impacted by range fire and drought.

OI Wild Horses WordPress 10-19 and 22-17

In 2017 about 73,000 horses roamed free on designated grazing areas around the West. That’s about three times the number originally set forth by Congress. The agencies charged with their care under the Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 are caught in the middle of a political and public-affairs crisis as the current administration moves to cut the budget for wild horses and burros.

If this happens, the fate of nearly 50,000 excess animals gathered from the range is uncertain. They are cared for and fed by the government in holding corrals or off-range pasture at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $50 million per year. With populations out of control, solutions are dwindling for the Bureau of Land Management.

“The track that we’re on is simply unsustainable,” says BLM public affairs specialist Heather Tiel-Nelson. “The cost alone of managing wild and free-roaming horses off the range is staggering.”

Producer Sauni Symonds takes a look at what is happening with wild horse herds in our state and how some new ideas may offer solutions to a seemingly hopeless situation. “It’s a very complicated and emotional issue for many, and at the heart of it is an icon of the American West, whose survival seems to depend on compromise and cooperation.”

Read more about the show at Outdoor Idaho’s “Behind the Stories.”