Franklin Elementary School Has Nature Experience at NJSOC

Third graders have fun sampling aquatic invertebrates and looking for black bear signs during their visit to the Montclair State University field station in Stokes State Forest.

Arielle Simonis

Students examine their 'catch' during Pond Ecology

On May second, The New Jersey School of Conservation welcomed sunny weather and the third graders of Franklin Elementary School to its campus for a day of outdoor learning.

Students arrived ready to explore two different natural ecosystems and catch a glimpse of New Jersey wildlife. While no bears were sighted in Black Bear Ecology, the eager third graders searched for signs of black bear in the surrounding woodlands.  Bear scat, tracks, and winter den sights were spotted amongst the blooming trees and plants. In Pond Ecology, teachers, parents, and students alike searched for amphibians and macro invertebrates along the shores of Lake Wapalanne! Salamanders, tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs, and snails were among the organisms collected. AmeriCorps member and Environmental Educator Bobby DeMarinis said “The students had absolutely no fear of reaching into the water and their nets to catch things!”

This was Franklin Elementary School’s first trip to the School of Conservation; Coordinator Alison Hendershot explains, “Most of our field trips are indoors. We like to give our students the opportunity to have an outdoor experience.” Indeed, the School of Conservation staff members and educators were excited to work with this younger cohort of students and enjoyed their infectious enthusiasm for outdoor adventures!