On the morning of Wednesday April 18th, 2012 sixty-nine 5th grade students from the Frank Antonides School arrived at the NJSOC accompanied by seven teachers and sixteen parents for a three-day, two-night environmental education experience. Making her second visit to the NJSOC, the trip was organized by first-time group coordinator Ms. Christina Hess.
During their stay the students had the opportunity to participate in the popular group activities called Action Socialization Experiences (ASEs), where they learned to work together as a team. Later, six groups rotated throughout several NJSOC courses: beaver ecology, black bear ecology, metalsmithing, herpetology, stream geo-ecology, and survival. In the early evening on Thursday, students broke into two larger groups, alternating between having the chance to participate in new games and visiting the NJSOC trading post.
Frank Antonides has been coming to the NJSOC for at least twelve years now. Ms. Hess noted that the students really enjoyed all the classes but especially liked survival, stream geo-ecology, and herpetology because these classes explore the surrounding Stokes State Forest. They also enjoyed metalsmithing, a class that teaches about the history of natural resource use, because they were able to make something that they could take home. This is an important visit for Frank Antonides students because it “reinforces teambuilding skills.” Students from years past always have fond memories of their experience at NJSOC. When asked, Ms. Hess said the three words she’d use to describe the week were: Adventurous Enlightening, and Engaging.
One student said that she learned about all sorts of things in a fun way by going on hikes in the forest. If given the opportunity she said she would love to come back to the NJSOC!