Norwood Public School Has Environmental Experience

The sixth-graders from Norwood traveled to Stokes State Forest for an environmental experience at Montclair State University's School of Conservation

Jamie Hoffman

Students practice their paddling skills while exploring the aquatic life in Lake Wapalanne

The New Jersey School of Conservation (NJSOC) had the great pleasure of hosting the sixth-grade students from the Norwood Public School for their annual environmental field trip. The students began their outdoor experience with the Action Socialization Experiences, a series of critical thinking challenges emphasizing teamwork among the participants. The challenges taught the students the importance of effective communication and showed them that listening to each other's ideas is just as important as presenting them. As the students went through their challenges they grasped a better understanding of themselves and how to work with each other. This is a crucial skill that will follow them throughout their education and into the workplace.

During their 3-day environmental experience, the students partook in many environmentally based outdoor activities, including Herpetology, Stream-Geo Ecology, Climbing Wall, Black Bear Ecology, Boating, Confidence Course, and Archery. Each of these outdoor activities is designed to expand the student’s knowledge of the natural world, illustrate the importance of conserving our life-sustaining natural resources and, of course, to have some fun while learning!

The Boating and Stream-Geo Ecology classes gave the students an opportunity to explore an aquatic world filled with diverse life such as a variety of benthic macro-invertebrates, turtles, and salamanders. After having hands-on experiences with the plants and animals that live underwater, the students gained newfound knowledge and appreciation of the impact that water plays in their lives.

Archery allowed the students to wield the tools of ancient warriors. In Archery, the students learned that hitting their target doesn't come immediately, but instead takes practice and repetition. They left archery with the understanding that success comes from focusing on the smaller fundamentals and practicing to perfect the overall outcome.

            The Confidence Course and Climbing Wall gave the students a chance to step outside of their comfort zone and take on physical challenges. Through tight rope wires, beams, and suspended logs, the students realized that by embracing new challenges they can build their courage as well as their trust in themselves and each other. On the Climbing Wall, the students put in a 100 percent effort while making their way up our 20 and 25-foot wall-face. The goal of the climbing wall experience is to leave the students with the confidence and knowledge that they can tackle the big problems associated with protecting our life-sustaining natural environment.

Before departing, Norwood visited our trading post, where they took away not only souvenirs, but all the experiences and knowledge that they had gained from their time here. The NJSOC staff loved hosting these wonderful students and thanked the coordinator, Marijean O’Donnell, and her co-workers for the hard work they put in to make this trip possible. We look forward to seeing Norwood next year.