My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kids Rule

All refuges offer an educational component that may include visits to classrooms, a reading contest where children read books about nature, special events with educational activities, and field trips for classes where part of the time spent on the refuge is spent doing active learning.

Staffer Kris with his first group, getting ready to learn about the fish at Malheur
 We sponsored a field trip day last Monday for the two third grade classes from an elementary school in Burns, Oregon.   I didn't get to find out much about what the other volunteers and staff were doing, but we had four stations and the kids spend thirty minutes at each station.  So each volunteer or staff person presented the same activity four times. These  field trips are a lot of fun for the kids and I love helping with them.
My current volunteer housemate, Teri, visits with a student while waiting to collect her first class
The kids received field journals with a couple of pages devoted to each activity
At my station, the kids learned about different bird beaks and feet.  We talked about what a bird looks like and about different beak types. Then they got to go into the George Benson Memorial Museum and search for birds that eat different kinds of food, seeds, mammals, insects, etc. While they were in the museum, they also drew a bird, in their journals, paying special attention to it's beak and feet.

"Birds" collecting food with their "beaks"
The kids really got into this activity.
Then they came back out to the picnic tables and became birds. They all used their "beaks" - tweezers, clothespins, spoons, or scissors- to pick up various "foods".  Finally we counted up all the foods they were able to get with their beaks and discussed which beaks were best suited to each food.
The final part of the day was a tree planting to commemorate the day and to give the kids another incentive to come back.

The tree was a tiny cottonwood started from a cutting last year
The kids, their teachers, parent aids, and the instructors all had a wonderful time and hopefully all of us learned something about the environment and our role in protecting our native plants and animals.