Annie's BIG Nature Lesson
by Donna Daines/Advisor

The “Annie’s BIG Nature Lesson” experience was provided to Gordon School third grades again this year at Wilder Creek Conservation Club as the classes of Tim Rupp and Kevin Brownell  spent each day at Wilder Creek.

        The teachers and expert naturalists planned and coordinated the daily schedule at WCCC to include math, science, social studies, reading, writing, and all of the schools “special” classes at Wilder Creek Conservation Club.

               Some the activities included:  learning the   history of the area; forester Jim Curry teaching about tree and leaf identification, soil composition and forest regeneration;  mapping the area; journal entries; learning about animals and habitats;  guided drawing; observing shapes in nature; and learning about water organisms and water testing;

               Throughout the week, students recorded their observations answering questions about natural objects of their choice such as  What is it like?  What are its distinctive features? What does it do? How dies it look, feel, smell, move, sound, change or behave? Who is it?  Where is it?  If it could talk, what would it say? How did it get this way?  Why is it here?  Who are its neighbors? How does it get along with them? What does this thing have to teach us?  How does it speak to the human world? What truths does it embody? What can I learn from it?

               “The kids are really bright,” said Coury.  “They challenged me a couple of times and said they’re going to check my information out on Google.  I’m shaking in my boots!   They are getting tools to face the great challenges ahead of them in life.  They have a lot of good questions and a lot of curiosity.”

               Rupp said   the highlight  of the program is the hour each day the students spend by themselves outside.  “The kids find a comfortable place to spend an hour 10 to 15 feet away from anyone else.  During that hour, they are free to write a story, draw, or journal about something of interest they have learned.”  

               One of their tasks during their solitary time is to make a sound map.  Indicating “north”  the students are asked to draw or write what they hear as they listen in each direction.

                “I didn’t get the question ‘how much longer’ until a full 45 minutes into the hour,” he said.

               Donna Daines can be reached at 269-781-5444 ext. 210 and donnadaines@jasnetworks.net

© Wilder Creek Conservation Club

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