In this class, students will study different freshwater life-sustaining aquatic environments and the physical and biological characteristics that make them up and affect them. During this study, they will learn about different macro-invertebrates that inhabit these areas and the adaptations that help them survive in their environments. Students may even have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the macro-invertebrates that live in our ponds and streams by collecting samples.
Students have the opportunity to observe some of our local wildlife as they explore our forests, ponds, and streams. Naturalists will guide students through this class with a combination of games and hikes that focus on predator/prey relationships, animal adaptations, community interactions, and food chains and webs. Our indoor education center also offers a chance for students to have an even more personal, hands-on experience with our local wildlife through the use of our live animals and collection of animal furs and skulls.
The different forest habitats lend themselves well to discovering the what, why, and how of the forest. Finding signs of animals in the forest will introduce food chains, food webs, and reinforce the concepts of community and interdependence. Students will also observe both the biotic and abiotic factors of the forest and their effects on the ecosystem. The topic of succession will also be covered by exploring rotting logs and comparing soil samples. Similarities and differences are noted between deciduous and evergreen trees and the main parts of all trees and their functions will be discussed in detail.
Taking advantage of most participants’ natural enthusiasm for tracking wildlife, Naturalists will lead us on our expedition through the forest. Not only will participants be able to identify tracks of common forest creatures or examine walking patterns, but they will be detectives in discovering the daily challenge of animal survival: the search for food, the chasing of prey, even the flight of a bird. By discovering evidence of wildlife, we can see the forest come alive.
Students are actively involved in understanding a wide array of geological concepts through a combination of hikes and games/activities. Some of the concepts to be covered in this class include the structure of the earth, plate tectonics, natural disasters, rocks vs. minerals, and the rock cycle.
Participants will take advantage of the snow, ice, and low temperatures to learn about the changes the physical environment and living organisms undergo in winter. The exploration of this season’s ecology may include: where animals go or how they survive, the pond beneath the ice, plant adaptations, physical properties, and formations of snow crystals.