Local volunteer honored for service to River-Lab Program


Members of the River-Lab Curriculum Team stand with Director of Curriculum Development and Founder’s Award recipient Anne Weinrod at the recent 44th annual Mill River Wetland Study Group Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Picnic. Shown, from left, are Alex Moran, Special Projects; Charlene Brauns-Schindler, Mill River Wetland Committee president; Weinrod; and Joy Shaw, founder and River-Lab Program author.

The Mill River Wetland Study Group (MRWSG) recognized long-time guide, administrator and curriculum developer Anne K. Weinrod for her professional services to the River-Lab Program during its 44th annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Picnic, held at Perry’s Mill on Mill River.

MRWSG is the Mill River Wetland Committee (MRWC) arm responsible for all training and scheduling of the parent volunteers who serve as guides for Fairfield public and parochial school students on the River-Lab study-trips.  These study-trips are part of the River-Lab classroom and on-site learning activities which comprise one-third of the science curriculum in the Fairfield Public Schools.

Since joining the study group and MRWC as a River-Lab guide in l993, Weinrod, who has a degree in microbiology from Cornell University, has served as a study-trip scheduler, MRWSG director and president and executive director of MRWC.

Her role as curriculum development advisor and eventual curriculum director grew, along with her close work on River-Lab activities and materials in consultation with Fairfield teachers and Fairfield science/math leader Marcelline Barron, as she performed in the other vital positions.

Weinrod worked to adapt the River-Lab Program to meet the specific requirements of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law and subsequent Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) student performance standards.

Starting in 2005, the schedule Weinrod prepared, with writing, photography and activity creation assignments for her assembled team of 10 River-Lab Program veterans, produced the necessary tweaked and new materials in time for fall 2006 and spring 2007 River-Lab study-trips on all four levels.

Recently, Weinrod was presented with MRWC’s Founder’s Award “in grateful recognition of her extraordinary level of dedicated professional service to the River-Lab Program.”

Also recognized at the MRWSG awards picnic for Top New Guides were Aimee Bolash (Osborn Hill School parent) for the highest number of study-trips and most levels of involvement during a first guiding year; and Alison Genovese (Mill Hill School parent) for her high number of study-trips and multiple levels of involvement in her first year.

Experienced volunteer parent guide Mark Tygesen (Floater) was recognized for the Top Guide Number of Study-Trips with a record of 30 study-trips logged in the 2012-13 school year.  Twenty-two other volunteer guides were recognized with awards for guiding four to 15 study-trips.

Receiving Kingfisher badges for having completed full training and guided at least once for each program level, with a career total minimum of 10 study-trips, were school parent volunteer guides Dana Kery, (Osborn Hill), Guylaine Kinney (Stratfield), Peter Kraus (Sherman), Suzanne Laginestra (Roger Ludlowe Middle School), Tammy Martin (Stratfield), Gretchen Patterson (Stratfield), Leann Ratner (North Stratfield) and Malini Vyas (Roger Ludlowe Middle School).

Silver Kingfisher pins, awarded for a minimum of five years service, badge earned and a career total minimum of 25 study-trips or for the five-year service minimum, with no badge earned and a minimum of 50 study-trip career total, were received by volunteer parent guides Cindy Leighton (Fairfield Woods Middle School), David McKinnis (Mill Hill School), Kathryn O’Mahoney (St. Thomas School), Lynn Shavinsky (Stratfield School) and Yvonne Zeisler (Burr School).

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