Wyland Foundation, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney School team up
By Loreen Berlin
What a fun way for students to learn with hands-on science activities in a mobile lab.
That is what took place recently at the Walt Disney Elementary School in Anaheim in conjunction with the Wyland Science Lab Foundation; it’s on wheels and travels throughout the United States offering an incredible learning experience for thousands of students in the 2nd through 6th grades, with representatives also from the Disneyland Resort.
The Wyland Foundation Clean Water Mobile Center is a 1,000-square-foot learning exhibition on wheels that has a 40-person movie theater, computer model simulations, a running river and one model that shows the effects of rain falling over a city landscape when too much fertilizer is used.
Students were able to experience hands-on learning about the importance of water conservation, water quality and availability while learning about the effects of pollution when it drains into the ocean and water supply.
The experience was made possible through a grant from the Disneyland Resort that selected ten schools in the Anaheim area, with the Walt Disney Elementary School being the kick-off point in Orange County; more than one million students have already gone through the exhibit in other areas of the nation.
“We’re so appreciative of Disneyland and the Wyland Foundation for sharing their incredible Learning Lab with our students,” said Magnolia School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Donavan. “Our students had a wonderful time learning about the importance of water conservation.”
Walt Disney School Principal Regina Ford said she was proud when the day after the event, several students noticed the wind blowing trash from the picnic tables onto the playground and they wanted to pick up the trash so it would not end up in the ocean.
“The Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center made a huge impact on how the Disney School students interact with the environment and we’re so very honored to be one of the schools where students do interact with the environment and we’re proud to be one of the recipients of Disneyland Resorts’ philanthropy.”
The Science Lab display took two and a half years to construct and will be seen by 3,000 students in second through sixth grades. Inside the lab is a theater where students view a movie about watershed and an exhibit room where students are divided into small groups to then go to the six learning stations, rotating through each of the stations.
“What you put in the outside drain comes out into the ocean,” students were told. In the movie, students were referred to as “recruits” and told to “stay sharp and keep your eyes open and then get out there and continue your mission of doing your part for the environment.”
“I want to mention that we celebrated Earth Day recently and this year, the theme is, ‘Earth Day is every day; end plastic pollution,’ and according to the Earth Day Network, ‘Plastic is poisoning our oceans and lands, injuring marine life and affecting our health,’” the Principal said.
There is nothing quite like first-hand experience and since the Disneyland Resort has a longstanding commitment to support youth education and the environment, Ms. Ford said Disneyland Resort is sponsoring the Wyland Foundation Clean Water Mobile Learning Center at Anaheim’s elementary schools through November.
“Students, I challenge you to leave today’s exhibit with one idea of how you can make a difference in conserving and protecting our water, because Walt Disney Elementary Dragons can make a difference,” said Ford.