Based on her interested in Williamstown’s neighboring town, North Adams, this summer Johanna Wasserman worked with Judy Grinnell at the Hoosic River Revival. Johanna wanted to get involved in the greater community. She shared that here at Williams it is very easy to get trapped in what we call the “Purple Bubble.”
North Adams is historically an industrial town, but when large production companies moved away, the town began struggling economically. Due to the lack of resources, North Adams citizens are still struggling to recover from their economic situation, Many are unaware that the Hoosic River has two branches running through North Adams because they are hidden in large concrete chutes to protect the town from flooding.
This summer, Johanna was able to work with the citizens of North Adams and Williamstown to create an outdoor environmental curriculum to connect North Adams students to the Hoosic River. Many of the students did not realize that the Hoosic River was what was flowing through the flood chutes. It is important that students understand the Hoosic River because it is reason the town was created. It is a major part of the North Adams history but many students know nothing about it.
Johanna’s goal for the summer was to create a way to teach students to understand the River’s history and recognize that they can enjoy the natural world close to home. To do this, Johanna created a “Teach to Learn Program” using lesson plan examples to create new lesson plans. Johanna created easy, affordable less plan opportunities by creating binders filled with information, colorful images and activities to help teachers get North Adams students involved in their river. Johanna tested her lesson plan on a group of students and to her surprise, it worked. Now her goal is to find a group of students to help out with the project and continue teaching the kids of North Adams about their river. If you are interested email Johanna Wasserman!