A few schools from Jersey City got together to visit the School of Conservation in Stokes State Forest for a three-day field trip to enjoy the outdoors this May. During the day, the schools enjoyed the beautiful spring weather while they participated in classes in the environmental sciences and the outdoor pursuits. At night, the groups stayed in cabins and took part in evening programs such as a campfire, night hike, a dance, and a nature show. The students and teachers had a great time during their stay filled with fun outdoor activities, and had an amazing opportunity to make lasting friendships with students from other Jersey City schools.
To begin their three-day field trip, the students were split into groups to participate in ASE, a teambuilding class designed to challenge the students to work together. The groups rotated through a series of stations in the woods to test their teambuilding skills. At Blind Square, half the students were blindfolded and instructed to make a perfect square with a length of rope. At the Spider Web, the students had to make their way through holes in the spider’s web without ringing the bell and waking the spider. Whatever the challenge was, the groups were up to the task, even making new friendships along the way!
During Water Ecology, the groups explored the streams at the School of Conservation, putting on water boots and taking nets to find small creatures that inhabit the waterways in Stokes State Forest. Students found frogs, fish, and salamanders, as well as the small “bugs” we call benthic macroinvertebrates. The groups learned how these creatures can indicate how clean our waters are, and how they can conserve the water they use to keep these animals healthy.
In Archery, the students tested their bow and arrow skills at the School of Conservation’s archery range. The groups learned the proper stance to be in to practice their aim, and took turns practicing their shots at the targets. By the end of the session, all the students had improved their aim and looked great in their archer’s stance.
The groups also participated in Conservation Photography, where the students were able to take pictures of the beautiful scenery at Stokes State Forest and print out their very own to frame and take home with them. To begin the class, the students learned about proper camera techniques and how photography can be used to help save our resources. Then the groups put their knowledge to use and became nature photographers as they traveled outside taking pictures.
To round off their outdoor experience, the group also participated in Questing, where the students solved a series of clues to find treasure in the woods, learning about different creatures of Stokes State Forest along the way. In Web of Life, the whole grade got together to participate in a wildlife simulation, searching for their resources hidden outside and avoiding capture from fellow students acting as carnivores and omnivores in the food chain.
Everyone at the School of Conservation was delighted to work with the Jersey City 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 Jersey City for making the trip possible—we look forward to our continued hosting of Jersey City schools!
Article written by: Leighann Tota