The Arthur M. Judd Elementary School Continues Environmental Education

North Brunswick fifth graders enjoy learning about the natural environment in Stokes State Forest.

Jamie Hoffman

NJSOC environmental educator and graduate student, Amanda Menasion, explains how trails are marked during the Survival class.

The Arthur M. Judd Elementary School began the month of May with their annual environmental field trip to the New Jersey School of Conservation. The fifth graders showed a great amount of enthusiasm and enjoyment in this year’s classes which included a wide variety of the environmental-base field lessons in the sciences, social sciences and outdoor pursuits.  They also enjoyed some exciting evening activities with a dance, campfire, and a live birds of prey show.

The Metalsmithing class offered an opportunity for the fifth graders to learn about the history and role of an early blacksmith and tinsmith. They grasped an understanding of how valuable these skilled professionals were to the European settlers of our country. The students used blacksmithing tools to create products of iron and tin. They experienced the colonial lifestyle and the settler’s daily quest for Earth’s natural resources needed for survival. 

The group hiked out into Stokes State Forest for their Survival class.  This course is filled with lessons on how to be innovative and creative, using the various resources at hand in order to survive.  Before heading off to dinner, the group participated in our energetic set of outdoor games called New Games. These games are all about having fun and building up an appetite before dinner!

The NJSOC’s ecology courses offer short classroom lectures followed by interpretive hikes out on the trails where natural ecological processes and various wildlife of New Jersey are discussed. During Black Bear Ecology, the students learned about the safety procedures and precautions during a possible black bear encounter. They also saw various territorial markings, suitable habitat, and a once active over-wintering bear den.

Throughout their trip, the students rotated through the different course offerings with a chance to learn all about North America’s most important aquatic mammal, the beaver.  During Beaver Ecology they ventured along the Big Flatbrook leading to an active beaver dam.  The fifth graders learned all about the important role beavers play in shaping the environment and saw the results of the beaver’s work on the landscape.

All the students had a chance to have some fun on the Confidence Course. This session is designed to help students push themselves by using a variety of different elements on the course. The Judd fifth graders enjoyed the challenge and came away with new found confidence!

The NJSOC would like to thank the students, parents, teachers, and especially on-site coordinator Ms. Karen Homeyer, for making another successful trip to the NJSOC.  Best wishes to everyone at the Arthur M. Judd Elementary School for a great school year - we look forward to hosting next year’s trip!