Jersey City Public Schools continued their fifth-grade trips to the New Jersey School of Conservation, allowing the students to get some quality time outdoors. The students were able to use this time to learn more about the natural world and some ways to appreciate it. Thanks to the efforts of Jersey City’s coordinator Sandra Festa and School of Conservation Program Coordinator, Lisa Mills, the students were able to enjoy a variety of experiences including Action Socialization Experience, Herpetology, Questing, Archery, and Conservation Photography.
The group began their trip with Action Socialization Experiences (ASEs). During this activity, students are divided into small groups and are given a series of challenges. Each challenge is meant to get the students to think outside the box and work with their team. Students are encouraged to communicate, plan, and support each other as they work on each activity. They then reflect on successes and how to improve as a group. This activity is great for setting a positive tone for the remainder of the trip and encourages an atmosphere of teamwork among groups.
Students had the opportunity to explore the natural world around the School of Conservation during Herpetology and Questing. In Herpetology, the students got up close and personal with reptiles and amphibians. They had the chance to meet some of the SOC’s educational turtles and snakes, as well as getting outside to search for some amphibians in Lake Wapalanne. Getting to see these animals firsthand helps to educate students about the importance of these species to the natural world. Questing provides students with a chance to learn more about navigating the landscape and discovering signs of animals in the forest. Students are in charge of following clues along the trail and each stop focuses on a different aspect of the forest.
The fifth-graders got the chance to try something new while they were here during Archery class. They learned how to safely use a bow and arrow, and got lots of practice target shooting. As they progressed, the students learned the importance of their stance and form in making accurate shots. They also got keep track of their accurate shots on target in order to track their progress.
Appreciating the natural world through art is an important way to foster an interest in conservation, and Jersey City students had the chance to experience this during Conservation Photography. They discussed the ways photography is used, as well as different artistic d techniques photographers use. Then, cameras in hand, the students got outside to take some photos of their own to capture the beautiful landscape around them. Students took fantastic pictures, one of which they got to print out and take home as a souvenir.
To end their trip, Jersey City fifth graders participated in Web of Life, a simulation of how energy travels through ecosystems. This energetic game is also great for tiring students out before a long bus ride home. All the educators here at the School of Conservation would like to thank Jersey City Public Schools for another wonderful trip, especially the chaperones and all those who make this opportunity possible!
Written by Katie Tharrett