Harrington Park students arrived in Stokes State Forest for their trip to the NJSOC, where adventures and opportunities awaited them. The kids spent the next couple of days enjoying hands on classes while learning about water ecology, survival and orienteering, archery, boating, and working through the confidence course and group initiatives! There was a smile on each student’s face and plenty of energy to explore. The NJSOC educators helped the kids learn about the importance of conservation.
The kids got their nets and boots and took off to learn about water ecology. The class teaches students about the water on the planet, and shows them how the quality of water not only impacts the wildlife but can have an impact on humans as well. Students got to learn what a benthic macro invertebrate is and its role in the streams on the NJSOC campus by surveying the stream, catching macro invertebrates and identifying what “class” they belong to. Along with surveying, students ran water tests to gather further research data on the quality of the water. They were then asked what they thought of their findings, and how they can continue to move forward and improve to see such a positive quality of water in the environment.
Survival and Orienteering was popular with the kids during their trip here. After they were taught the basics of using a compass the group was off to hike through the trails to different markers with different survival tips. They were taught the number one rule of survival, do not panic! With that behind them, they were educated about the four basic needs: food, water, shelter and air. The final puzzle piece was shelter building, with resources around the area, they were asked to build a shelter for their group with their basic needs in mind.
When it was the kids’ turn to get to the confidence course there were different ideas tossed around as to what confidence means to the kids, how they formed it, how they keep everything positive. The kids were always ready to share their brightest moment with the group, and soon after they were ready to take all that positive energy to tackle the course. With different elements on the course, the kids got to choose what they felt would either boost their now confidence or challenge themselves to something new.
The kids took time to work together and learn the difference between being a boss and a leader during group initiatives. They were given a set of challenges, and had to work together to achieve their goal. With their listening skills put to the test, the kids jumped into each activity ready to do better than the last attempt. Their keen communication skills and team work was put to the test when they were off to boating. They got to canoe around Lake Wapalanne, learning different strokes and racing around the lake with their friends playing some games.
As their trip came to an end, the kids got to reflect on all the different things they learned about during their time here at the NJSOC. The idea of conservation is more than just a word to them and the educators at the SOC hope that they can take what they learned here and do great things with it! We thank everyone who made this trip possible and look forward to another wonderful year with the kids!
Written by Anna-Marie Hope