The NJ School of Conservation was excited to welcome the Jersey City schools 5th grade students to the campus for a three-day, two-night trip. During their stay, they experienced several different environmental and cultural history classes, learning outdoor recreation skills as well as how to look for signs of a healthy forest ecosystem.
The students began their trip with ASEs (Action Socialization Experience), teambuilding activities to teach them how to effectively work together. Each group solved challenges designed for their experience level. Through communication, good listening skills, and leadership, each small group tackled their obstacles and watched their skills improve throughout their class time.
During Metalsmithing class, students learned about life in pre-industrial America and how smiths in those days made their living creating metal tools for local farmers and carpenters. At the end of the class, each student got to learn the tricks of the trade, hammering and shaping their own iron “s” hook and tin-smithing creation to take home with them.
In Pioneer Life, Jersey City students got to check out a 19th century farmer’s cabin while they learned about how pioneers of the time lived and the tools they used to cook their food and build their homes. Later on, they experienced some of the chores that pioneer children would do to help their families such as chopping wood to use for a fire and then mixing up a fresh batch of cornbread to cook on the woodstove.
Conservation Photography class allowed students to learn about photography techniques and then head outside to take their own 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 able to print one of their photos and title, sign, date, and frame it as their own special memory of the SOC to take home.
The students of Jersey City had an opportunity to learn more about the environment surrounding them during Stream Geo-Ecology, a class that took them outside on a beautiful hike to see the glacial ravines and giant boulders (also known as glacial erratics) left over from thousands of years ago when the glacier came down through northern NJ.
The staff of the NJSOC would like to extend their thanks to coordinator Rasheeida Rodgers and all the Jersey City teachers that accompanied this trip. We really enjoyed working with these 5th graders and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. We look forward to working with Jersey City again next year!
Written by Mary Birrer