Ms. Kostin

Outdoor Education

Year joined Stella Faculty:



I feel very fortunate to teach at Stella Niagara because Outdoor Education is a unique Program that has the potential to change student’s lives! I am a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh with a B.S. in Ecology and a minor in Studio Art. I trained to be an environmental educator with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Cheektowaga, NY. My time at Reinstein Woods included presenting educational programs for students of all ages at dozens of schools, creating classes on gardening and nature photography, leading guided tours on nature trails, and being a summer camp counselor. I have had amazing experiences working with students in classrooms and out in nature, and am looking forward to continuing these experiences at Stella Niagara.

Teaching Philosophy:

To a lot of students, nature is already something familiar. Because of this familiarity, some might find nature uninteresting. My goal is to rekindle wonder and inspire awe for nature in all of our students. My teaching philosophy is centered around two concepts, discovery and fun.
The foundation of my teaching philosophy is to guide student’s own discoveries of nature in order to teach them, rather than just lecturing. When students ask me to identify a plant or animal for them, I ask students to investigate the subject with the class and me instead. As a team, we use our senses to make observations to determine things like color, sound, texture, smell, size, etc. When necessary, I will provide students with information they can’t determine from directly interacting with the subject. Otherwise, students tend to figure out the answers to their own questions by making discoveries and analyzing them. Students are empowered when they find their own solutions through discovery, and feeling empowered can assist them with meeting challenges they may face in other areas.
Outdoor Education also gives students a chance to have fun with their friends. Yes, fun! Another part of my teaching philosophy is that students are more likely to remember class time and lessons if they’re having fun. When students enjoy the Outdoor Education Program they are inspired to go outside on their own time, even if they previously had no interest in nature.

Describe what students will learn in your class:

Through the Outdoor Education Program, students will learn to appreciate our environment and recognize that humans have an impact on it. Students will learn identification skills for plants and animals, investigate seasonal changes and the responses to them, analyze the difference between living and nonliving components in the environment and the role they play, explore predator/prey dynamics, animal adaptations, life cycles, gardening, and much, much more. Students will also make connections between what they learn in the classroom and what they experience outside in nature. In order to keep track of everything they learn, students in kindergarten through 8th grade will have an Outdoor Ed journal that they will use throughout their entire time at Stella Niagara.

Favorite Quote:

“In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” -Baba Dioum

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