Jefferson Township Middle School Sends Their Seventh Graders to NJSOC

The "Gold Team" has an environmental experience in Stokes State Forest

Leighann Tota

Students blow off some stream and have fun during a round of New Games

The Gold Team from Jefferson Township Middle School arrived at the New Jersey School of Conservation in mid-November for two days of outdoor activities in the brisk autumn weather in Stokes State Forest. They embraced the cold weather and took part in a number of different environmentally based classes in the social sciences, the outdoor pursuits, and the natural sciences. Jefferson’s seventh grader class also enjoyed an evening campfire, a live animal presentation and dance during their two-day visit. The students and staff alike brought enthusiasm to all of their activities at Montclair State University’s environmental field station.

To begin their field trip, the Gold Team participated in the Action Socialization Experiences. During this activity the students learned to work together as they rotated through different team-building challenges designed to test their skills in communication and teamwork. The seventh grade class was definitely up for the challenge—they came together and effectively communicated with each other to complete their tasks, while having fun doing so!

During their stay, the students also took part in Pioneer Life, a class that took the students back to the pre-industrial era to learn how American pioneers used natural resources in their daily lives. They explored the old DeGroat cabin, learning about the hard work and daily chores the pioneers had to do every day. The seventh graders had fun splitting wood and cooking cornbread on a wood-burning stove.

The students took an eventful hike through Stokes State Forest for their survival class, where they learned to be resourceful if they ever found themselves confused or lost in the woods. They learned how to build shelters, read trail markers, and put everything available to good use in order to survive.

To round off their environmental education experience, the seventh graders participated in the Confidence Course, Conservation Photography, Questing, Web-of-Life and New Games.  During the Confidence Course class, the students learned to push themselves to try their best. In the Questing class, they went on a treasure hunt and learned about the forest along the way. In addition, the students had a great time trying their hand at being nature photographers in Conservation Photography, and had fun simulating wildlife and expending some energy at Web of Life and New Games.

Everyone at the School of Conservation was delighted to work with the Jefferson Gold students, teachers, and chaperones during their visit. The teaching staff at the School of Conservation would like to thank everyone at Jefferson for making this trip possible—we look forward to hosting next year’s field trip!