WE NHEE'd to Get Outside Grant Update
We are so excited to report that our NHEEd to Get Outside Grant was a huge success, with more than 20 schools and organizations from all over the state applying for funding to support field trips. Thank you to all of those who applied! We were able to provide funds for 10 trips, which will provide close to 800 students with meaningful, experiential education opportunities in the outdoors. Our only regret is that we could not provide full funding for all of the applicants, and so we want to send out a plea for support. Please consider a donation to our program, or ask a local business in your community to consider sponsoring field trips through NHEEd to Get Outside. You can click HERE to donate, and 100% of funds collected for this grant program will go straight to supporting future field trips.
Throughout the year we will highlight some of those trips that have been selected to receive NHEEd to Get Outside funds for 2018. The four trips described below are coming up later this winter or in the early spring. Stay tuned for more updates!
Woodsville Elementary School’s kindergarten students will have the chance to take part in Prescott Farm’s “Wildlife Tracking” program in February, which includes and introduction to animal tracking and the field experience of going out and tracking on the property in Laconia, NH. Their teacher, Nicole Hauswirth, explains, “our kindergarten classes will be learning about how animals survive in the winter. We will be learning about animals that hibernate or migrate, and animal adaptations. Students will learn about the homes animals make for themselves in order to help them survive the harsh winter weather and how they prepare for winter. Students will be examining animal tracks and learning how to identify which animals the tracks belong to. Additionally, students will learn how our actions can impact these animals and their populations.”
Hooksett Memorial School will use these funds to support a great community project this winter and spring. Here’s how Deirdre Brotherson, the 5th grade teacher, describes their project: “The students in my 5th grade classroom have been invited to do a collaborative project with the Hooksett Conservation Commission. The Commission owns a newly purchased tract of land along the Merrimack River called the Hooksett Riverwalk Trail. The students will visit and experience the site with teachers from HMS and members of the Commission. The goal of the visit is to develop questions about what they see and experience during the field trip. Students will be led on a formal tour of the site and then will be given time to explore the site in small groups with targeted questions and a scavenger hunt. Individual quiet sketch and journal time will end the trip. Upon their return to school, students will develop a research question about something they saw or experience at the site and answer the questions with a written response which may also include photos, video links, music, and artwork. Eighth grade students will then work with the 5th grade students to develop a website and connect each project to the website with a QR code. The QR code will be attached to posts along the Hooksett Riverwalk Trail in spots relating to the research topic. The Hooksett Riverwalk Trail is about 3 miles from the school. In order to include both of my 5th grade science classes (20 students per class), we will need to use a school bus for transportation which is costly. The Hooksett Conservation Commission is excited about this project because they are trying to encourage people to visit the site and use the trails. We believe students will bring their parents and relatives to the Riverwalk Trail to experience the trail and their work through the QR codes posted around the site. If this is successful, this could be an annual event as the QR codes could be reused and attached to new student work every year.”
Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth, NH has planned a trip in March for its 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders to visit Prescott Farm's Maple Sugar Madness in Laconia. Students will learn about the parts of a tree, the history of maple sugaring, the some local economics, and get to experience the process themselves. Dawn Grant explained that this trip is so meaningful to her students because “we are located in an area that is mostly pine forest. In February/March, we will be doing a unit on the parts of a tree and their functions, focusing on maple trees in NH. With our philosophy on a hands-on experiential approach to education, we would like our students to be able to witness and experience maples up close.”
In April, Somersworth Middle School will be visiting Mast Point Dam for a “Trout Release Day” to set free the fry the students have been raising from eggs through the “Trout in the Classroom” project. This is a full day of learning and festivities which will include a macro-invertebrate biotic index and chemistry test to assess the quality of water with help from NH Fish and Game, fly tying and fly casting 101 with Trout Unlimited, and a trash pick-up to celebrate Earth Day. The students will also choose a “Power spot” along the river path to sit and reflect. The Language Arts teachers have created writing prompts that students will write and illustrate their thoughts onto their notebook pages. The students will then get their hands dirty planting a native, riverside riparian buffer with seedlings from the NH Nursery and NHDES to help stabilize river banks from erosion, and Chris Asbell, the 7th grade science teacher organizing the event explains that “even more [learning] stations may be added if volunteers arrive! This trip includes every subject for our community in the setting of a wonderful walking trail that views historic sections of Somersworth roots.”