The NJ School of Conservation was happy to welcome Judd 5th graders for their 3 day, 2 night field trip. During their trip, the students attended unique classes about the ecology of the forest as well as the cultural history of the area.
A favorite class here at the SOC is Conservation Photography, during which students learned about photography techniques and why pictures are so important. They then headed outside to take their own unique photos. Each student used techniques including lighting, different perspectives, colors, and leading lines to compose their own photograph during a short hike in the woods. Each student was then printed and titled, signed, dated, and framed one of their own photos as their special SOC memory to take home.
During Survival/Orienteering class, students practiced their outdoor skills: fire-making, learning how to follow trail markers, using a compass, and building shelters. After learning about humans’ four basic needs and how bodies prioritize those needs to keep us alive, the students worked their way through a survival scenario where they imagined what survival items they might take with them to use in an emergency.
In Metalsmithing class, students learned about life in the 1800s and how smiths in those days made their living creating metal tools for local farmers and carpenters. During class, each student hammered and shaped their own iron S-hook and tin-smithing creation to take home with them.
Judd students went macroinvertebrate sampling in a nearby stream during their Water Ecology class. After a brief discussion about water and what water health means for the environment, students hypothesized about the level of pollution they might find in a stream here at the SOC. They learned that macroinvertebrates are bio-indicators of stream health because they are sensitive to polluted water. In order to determine how healthy the water was, students searched under rocks and logs in the stream to find some macroinvertebrates.
White-Tailed Deer Ecology was a great way to get students thinking about the wildlife found in the forest and in their own backyards and towns, as they learned about the behavior and habitat of deer and thought about what the animal’s overpopulation in NJ forests might mean. A hike in the great outdoors searching for signs of deer and other wildlife capped off the class.
During their recreation periods, Judd students tried out the climbing wall, one of the SOC’s most adventurous experiences. The wall allowed the students to push themselves as they learned helpful climbing techniques and how to put on a harness and helmet correctly, then belayed each other on the wall from below. At Archery class, students learned how to handle a compound bow and took turns learning how to aim and shoot effectively.
The staff of the NJ School of Conservation would like to thank coordinator Karen Homeyer and all the teachers of Judd School for making this trip possible. We loved working with the Judd students and wish them all the best in their future endeavors! We look forward to seeing them again next year.
Written by Mary Birrer