New Town teacher transforms classroom into rainforest

Published: Apr. 3, 2019 at 6:34 PM CDT
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It's estimated that every year, we lose enough of the world's rainforests equal to the size of all of England and Wales.

While there may be no rainforests here in North Dakota, we are still impacted by deforestation.

Educator in New Town is teaching her students about this issue and a unique way.

Jennifer Waterman couldn't bring her class to the rainforest--so she brought the rainforest to class.

“We've learned about epiphytes,” said first-grader Bella Ground.

Those are non-parasitic plants that live on other plants in the rainforest.

Kynan Fox says he learned about some cool animals.

“I learned about the sloth and those monkeys and these decorations,” he said.

This is Waterman's first year teaching at Edwin Loe Elementary, and her first graders already know more than I do about the rainforest.

“There are animal species within the rainforest that are going extinct because people don't care. So I figured if I get the little ones to start caring, eventually some change will happen,” Waterman said.

Waterman says rainforests contribute more than 20% of the world's oxygen.

“When I'm trying to teach them about deforestation, I have them breathing through a straw, and that gives them an idea of what it would be like to breathe if the rainforests weren't here,” she said.

Bridging the gap between the world's rainforests and the Peace Garden State.

Waterman said she's keep the decor set up through April.