Gravely Mountains

Gravely Mountains
Gravely Mountains in Morning Light
Showing posts with label field trips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label field trips. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Through Their Eyes

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge had five classes of kids coming to visit us over two days so there was a rush to get enough helpers to set up stations for them. I volunteered to work on two of my off days. In return, I got to take the kids on the boardwalk and help with the Pond Study. I also got to go check on the kids at the Chesser Homestead so got a few pictures of them there.

The Pond Study consisted of letting the children use nets to collect fish, snails, insects and insect larva, and microorganisms from the pond. Groups of five kids and at least one adult spent about twenty-five minutes collecting the animals and transferring them to their buckets.

Ranger Sarah helping with the capture

Oh, the anticipation when the net comes in

Minnows and a snail -from the first two turns at the net
 Then they brought the buckets to the table and looked at them with the microscopes. After everyone got to see several specimens of pond life, they put the animals back into the ponds.

Working on identifying some of the specimens

The sheet shows many of the possible insects

When the kids visited the Chesser Homestead, they learned about life about 100 years ago, and then played some of the old games.

Keeping the hoops rolling is hard work

The trip down and back on the boardwalk took another hour.  Some of the groups got to see an alligator that lives at the first shelter, built over an alligator hole. And others got to see the great blue heron that likes to fish in that hole. Everyone got to see great egrets and some got to see anhingas, white ibis, and hear sandhill cranes.

This little water moccasin was in the exact place on both days

This goggle-eyed pig  frog was spotted by a sharp-eyed youngster

At the top of the tower
 Getting to work with young children in the outdoors is always most rewarding for me. They are so excited and intense.  I was even able to get 25 loud, excitable kids to sneak up on the alligator that lives at the first shelter on the boardwalk.  And they found the little water moccasin and the googly eyed frog.  This was a great way to spend two of my days off.

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.