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Tag Archive | "field trips"

Showcasing the DNR: Getting wild in the classroom


Aspen Ridge fifth-grader Kendra Scherer tries to determine the height of a tree by gazing through a clinometer, while classmate Athena Kinnunen follows the line of sight. Students Madelyn Reader, Ella Brand and Catherine Bartanen are also pictured, from left. Wheels to the Woods helped fund transportation for the Forestry Field Day outing. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

By Hannah Schauer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Connecting children to wildlife and other natural resources can be one of the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling endeavors for educators and students.

With another school year beginning, some people may not know the Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides numerous opportunities to help teachers make those valuable connections between the state’s natural and cultural resources and students of all ages.

Elementary students get wild

Through the Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife curriculum, elementary school educators can introduce young learners to Michigan’s wildlife species and their habitats. 

“Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife brought an excitement into my class that I wasn’t anticipating,” said Charlotte Simpson of Shettler Elementary, part of Fruitport Community Schools in Muskegon. “My youngest of learners–kindergartners–were engaged in the lessons and materials and were making connections to their beautiful home state.”

Critter cards, featuring 19 different Michigan wildlife species, are included with the Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife curriculum. The facing card shows a painted turtle, Michigan’s state reptile. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Included with the lesson plans and activities, are “critter cards,” featuring 19 different Michigan wildlife species.

While each educator receives a PDF version of the cards, the DNR also prints a limited supply of the cards, so students can have a set to keep. The available card sets are distributed to Michigan teachers on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Throughout many lessons, I would hear, ‘I’ve seen that animal before’ or ‘I’m going to look for that animal tonight when I get home,’” Simpson said. 

During the 2017-2018 school year, over 800 kindergarten through fifth-grade educators registered to receive this free curriculum.

Middle school is for the bears (and ducks) 

Using actual location data from radio-collared Michigan black bears, middle school students can find out what bears are up to throughout the year. 

A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear provides lessons, videos, activities and bear location data to help students learn more about bear behaviors and habits at various times of the year. Like other DNR wildlife classroom curricula, this program is offered free of charge.

Sixth- through eighth-graders will learn all about bear biology, as well as the DNR’s role in managing bear populations in Michigan. This year, additional bear location data have been added to the curriculum and educators can choose which bear, or bears, they want their class to “follow.”

Educator Brandy Dixon, from Holy Ghost Lutheran School in Monroe, said she uses the curriculum in her classroom and she loves the program.

“It was a great way to show my students how there are people in the state of Michigan whose job it is to protect our natural resources. It encouraged them to think about how to maintain our environment, and it taught them about bears,” Dixon said. “They gained in-depth knowledge about these creatures, and I think that knowledge – because it was spread through an entire school year – will stick with them for the rest of their lives.”

With knowledge and experience comes greater understanding.

“I had some students who started in my class dead set against hunting,” Dixon said. “I think they now have more of an understanding as to why hunting, in particular, is an effective management practice for our Michigan wildlife.”

Classes that participate in the curriculum also have the option to enter a Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear contest. 

After learning all about black bears in Michigan, students can create a way to share the story of a black bear’s journey throughout the year. Educators representing the top three projects are awarded gift certificates to purchase science supplies for their classroom.  

Prizes for the contest are provided by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association and the DNR. 

The DNR also offers middle-schoolers curriculum centering on wetlands and some of the birds that live there.

Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl offers an opportunity to learn about the ducks, geese, and swans found in Michigan, as well as the critical importance of wetland habitats. 

Lessons include several activities. Students can become a bird in a migration simulation that illustrates the perils that waterfowl encounter during their bi-annual flights. Students also will engage in land-use planning, and analyze Michigan waterfowl population data. 

A Michigan elk is shown. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

High-schoolers become elk managers

Michigan once had elk across the state, but by the late 1800s, all the native elk had disappeared due to unregulated hunting and drastic landscape changes that led to a lack of habitat.

In 1918, seven elk were brought from the western United States to Wolverine, Michigan to re-establish our state’s elk population. 

Now, 100 years later, Michigan has a healthy and abundant elk population resulting from intentional land management and increased law enforcement.

Students can learn more about this conservation success story and celebrate elk in the classroom with Elk University.

“This educational program gives high school students to chance to step into the role of a wildlife manager,” said Katie Keen, DNR wildlife communications coordinator. 

Students will learn about elk, their habitat needs, Michigan history, wildlife disease and forest management. They also will explore social considerations for wildlife management.

“I was really impressed with the way Elk University uses real data, video and photos to teach biology concepts, but doesn’t ‘preach’ or ‘tell’ information to the kids,” said Chad Miller of Hamilton High School in Hamilton. “Instead, it was clear that whoever designed the lessons understood inquiry learning and the art of getting kids to ‘uncover’ concepts. It is so rare to find – especially in free, pre-written programs – this approach used so well.”   

Elk University is offered free of charge to ninth through 12th-grade educators.

Lakeview: Students from Lakeview Community Schools pose for a photo after visiting their school forest. Wheels to Woods provides field-trip funding to forests for pre-K through 12th-grade schools in Michigan. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Forests and field trips

“Forests are critical habitat for many species, such as bear and elk, and a field trip is a great way to have students experience these resources first-hand after learning about them in class,” Keen said.

For those teachers hoping to get their students out for some forest exploration there is funding available to schools for field trips through a program called “Wheels to Woods.” 

Any pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school in Michigan is eligible to apply for funds to go on a field trip to a school forest, private forest, public forest or forest products company.

“Wheels to Woods pays for the bus so that students, teachers and parents can go on an educational field trip to explore a nearby forest,” said Mike Smalligan, DNR forest stewardship coordinator. “Teachers are free to use any topic about forests that fits in with their lessons and curriculum.” 

For more information and an application form, visit treefarmsystem.org/wheels-to-woods. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

If a field trip is not feasible, educators can incorporate trees, forests and more into the classroom with Project Learning Tree.

With this award-winning outdoor curriculum that meets both state and national standards, educators can find lessons and activities for learners of all ages to incorporate into classrooms and other educational settings. 

Learn more about Michigan Project Learning Tree at www.michiganplt.org. 

More ways to bring natural resources to the classroom

Project WILD workshops offer professional development for bringing hands-on natural resources-related activities to classrooms. Several Project WILD guide books for kindergarten through grade 12 are available. Find out more at michigan.gov/michiganprojectwild. 

Get salmon in the classroom. Caring for young salmon encourages third- through 12th-grade students to think and care about conservation and creates a connection between caring for their fish and caring for their local environment. Learn more about the Salmon in the Classroom program at michigan.gov/sic. 

The DNR’s Academy of Natural Resources, a week-long program offered in two locations during the summer months, gives teachers the opportunity to learn about Michigan’s diverse natural resources and how to bring that knowledge to the classroom. Learn more at michigan.gov/anr. 

To register for wildlife classroom curricula and learn about additional opportunities the DNR has to offer educators, visit michigan.gov/dnreducation.

To get the latest education updates from the DNR, sign up for DNR emails at michigan.gov/dnr and choose “Education and Outreach” to subscribe to the Essential Educator newsletter.

The Michigan DNR offers numerous opportunities for the state’s schoolchildren to learn about wildlife and natural resources in closer, more involved and more in-depth ways.

These opportunities offered for today’s youth may cultivate a bumper crop of wildlife and natural resources stewards for tomorrow. That’s what the DNR is aiming for.

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Community give Back Night a Success


CTA and Cedar Springs Brewing Company staff present the fundraising check.

Thank you to our CTA families for coming out on our Community Give Back Night at Cedar Springs Brewing Company! The Parent Association-coordinated event raised more than $250 to support middle school and high school field trips.

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Successful Walk-A-Thon benefits elementary students


Third grade students Deegan VanHarten and Colren Bailey jump double at the jump rope station.

The Creative Technologies Academy Parent Association held their annual walk-a-thon on October 6. It was a huge success! They raised almost $3,800. This fundraiser was held to benefit the elementary grades to provide field trips and other classroom needs. The walk was held on the school grounds and the classes took turns with their reading buddies participating in the walk-a-thon activities. They all really enjoyed it, and had a lot of fun! The PA did it a little different than in the past years and opted to have activity stations. The students raced on scooters,

Fourth grader Natalie Haan races around the basketball court during one of the stations.

swiveled hula hoops, jumped rope, and danced to music. The teachers also enjoyed engaging with their students and watching them enjoy themselves. A huge thank you to our sponsors – Walmart and Meijer for gift cards to buy our snacks and water and Burger King for donating free hamburgers or a free ice cream cone vouchers. Our top class who raised the most money was the 3rd graders who will receive a pizza party and $200 towards books for their classroom. The 5th grade class also earned a pizza party. Thank you to all who helped plan, volunteered on-site and donated to make the walk a huge success!

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Support the PA Fundraiser at Cedar Springs Brewing Company!


 

Tuesday, Nov. 14 • 4 – 9:00 p.m. 

95 N. Main Street, Cedar Springs

CS Brewing will donate 10% of total food sales to the CTA PA for Middle School and High School field trips.

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Campus Kids are having a BLAST This Summer!!


CSPS-CampusKids-indoors

Teresea Schlump, Campus Kids Director

The students attending the Campus Kids Summer program are having so much fun!  We have been very active not only on campus, but by going on lots of enjoyable field trips!!  One of the goals of Campus Kids is to offer our students many new opportunities to experience different activities.  We are always searching for new places to take the students to expose them to new educational, cultural, and athletic opportunities.  To meet this goal, we have traveled to lots of places not only in Cedar Springs, but in our surrounding communities.  For example, some of our students have had a golf lesson at Cedar Chase, experienced a ninja obstacle course at Rockfit Ninja Gym, fed the fish at the Paris Park Fish Hatchery, picked berries at Krupp’s Farm, watched a baseball game at the Whitecaps, and shot bows and arrows at WM Archery Center in Rockford.  In all, we will go on 36 field trips this summer!!   Sometimes we take everyone, and other times we take a smaller group of students.  One of the other goals of the Campus Kids program is to spend a large portion of the day CSPS-CampusKids-waterfunoutside.  This summer, we have spent approximately 60% of the day outside enjoying the beautiful weather.  Some of the activities we have done when we are on campus have ranged from crafting to STEM activities to challenge our minds, walking/running club, building and playing on a giant slip and slide, growing vegetables in the Community Garden, journaling, playing charades, and preparing and eating healthy snacks.  We have also done some community service work by picking up trash on campus.

Campus Kids – Before and After School Care

Campus Kids is a State Licensed Day Care program and we are preparing for school start.  We offer Before and After School Care throughout the school year.  Campus Kids opens at 6:00am at both Cedar Trails Elementary and Beach Elementary.  We do activities throughout the morning, and then serve a light breakfast.  We dismiss the students in time to get to their class at either Cedar Trails, Beach, or Cedar View.  Cedar Trails students may attend Campus Kids at their school, while Beach and

Cedar View students may attend at Beach.  In the afternoons, Campus Kids opens at 3:30pm for students at the same locations.  A healthy snack is served and homework help and fun activities are offered until 6:00pm.  To enroll, please complete and return a registration packet before September 1, 2016 to reserve your spot.  Packets may be picked up at Cedar Trails, or they can be found on-line at csredhawks.org.  There is a $20 annual registration fee for one child or $35 for a family.  Rates are $8.00 a morning or afternoon, or $15 for both on the same day.  Parents complete a schedule of days that they need care, and they are billed a month in advance for services.

For an additional charge, we also offer care on early release days and on snow days for pre-registered children.   Please call (616) 696-1716 or email campus.kids@csredhawks.org for additional information.

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