Wenonah Elementary School has Environmental Experience

Leighann Tota

Working with NJSOC educator and resident Blacksmith, students create their own "S" hooks.

The sixth-graders from the Wenonah Elementary School visited the School of Conservation in Stokes State Forest for a three-day field trip to experience the outdoors and learn about the environment. The sixth grade class arrived at the beginning of December, ready to have fun and enjoy the winter weather. The group participated in classes in the social sciences, outdoor pursuits, and the natural sciences, as well as an evening campfire, night hike, and live animal show at night. Wenonah had an eventful three-day trip packed with fun educational activities.

During their stay, the group participated in a Metalsmithing class, an exciting activity that taught the students how the trade worked in the pre-industrial era. The students learned about the materials and day-to-day tasks of the blacksmith, and even had a chance to forge their very own S-hooks to take home with them. They had hands-on experience in becoming a blacksmith apprentice, learning how to work the bellows and become a striker. The sixth grade class had fun working hard by the fire, getting first-hand experience in the life of a blacksmith.

In Black Bear Ecology, the group learned all about North American black bears. In the classroom, they learned about the black bear’s eating habits, its habitat, and its day to day life. The sixth graders found out that although it is a powerful wild animal to be respected, black bear attacks on humans are extremely rare. Outside, the group took a hike to identify signs of the black bear around the area, finding evidence of the animal throughout the forest. They explored black bear traps, and were even able to hike to an old black bear den 

At the Confidence Course, the students of Wenonah learned how to trust themselves and their classmates on a series of low rope elements in the woods. They pushed themselves outside of their comfort zones, gaining confidence as they trusted the members of their group to spot them as they traversed the rope elements. The group had a lot of fun, especially as they crossed the cargo net.

To round off their environmental experience, Wenonah participated in Beaver Ecology and Survival, where they took a hike through Stokes State Forest to see a beaver lodge and learned about how resourceful you can be when you find yourself confused in the woods. The group also got to warm up outside with a series of large group games called New Games,

Everyone at the School of Conservation was delighted to work with the Wenonah students, teachers, and chaperones during their visit. It was a fun and exciting three days, and the sixth graders brought enthusiasm to all of their classes. The teaching staff at the School of Conservation would like to thank everyone at Wenonah Elementary School for making the trip possible—we look forward to hosting next year’s field trip!