Jersey City Students Experience the Great Outdoors

The Jersey City Joint Activities Program gives students to opportunity to get up close and personal with the natural world.

Andrew Aboagye

Students practice teamwork as they work the Australian Trolleys.

The School of Conservation was visited once again by the bright students of the Jersey City Joint Activities program (JCJA). Upon their arrival, the students partook in the Action Socialization Experiences or ASE’s. These experiences involve a series of physical and mental challenges that stimulate group interaction and promote teamwork. On that mild March morning, the JCJA students took on the challenges without hesitation. As they went through each challenge the students built each other up by listening to ideas, planning strategies, and constantly encouraging each other. By the end of these team-building challenges, they had developed a respect for one another and had learned the value of teamwork.

After ASEs, the students broke off into separate learning groups and went to different classes, which included but were not limited to; Pioneer Life, Black Bear Ecology, and Conservation Photography.

Conservation Photography presented the students with a different outlook on nature. With the weather on their side, the JCJA students used their cameras and their creativity to rediscover the beauty and splendor of the natural world around them. 

Pioneer life showed the students what it was like to live without modern technology. After gathering and utilizing resources from their natural surroundings, the students were astonished by how much nature could provide and were grateful for the luxuries that the 21st century provides. 

Black Bear Ecology gave the students an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a Black Bear. They learned about the various shelters that black bear make for themselves and how diverse a black bear’s diet can be. They also learned how smart Black Bears are and why that can result in some negative human and bear interactions – like rummaging through our garbage and making a big mess. Lastly, they learned how peaceful, gentle, and non-threatening the black bears truly are. The students left that class with a newfound love and admiration for the majestic black bears of north New Jersey. 

The coordinator of this trip, Ms. Dana Scandomenico, was thrilled to find that the students’ perspective about nature changed for the better, as they voiced their desire to protect the environment that they had come to embrace. The teachers and staff at the SOC would like to thank the Jersey City School District for allowing us to host another group of students with bright minds and warm hearts. We hope to continue to see them next year and for years to come.