Area students visit park as part of summer program
Close To Nature
Feeding the birds, tracking down salamanders, and jumping like a deer were all on the agenda.
Students in the 21st Century Summer Program have been visiting Chapman State Park. On Wednesday, the second and third graders were at the park, going through a program set up by the park’s Environmental Education Specialist Jen Moore.
The students were at the park for a little over two hours. During that time, they moved through three stations: Wildlife Olympics, Fill the Bill, and Salamanders.
The Olympic events included walking like a bear and jumping like a deer.
The students got some math practice in as they took measurements and calculated how long their ears would be if they were rabbits.
“I liked the jumping,” Jaxon Wotorson said. He made it 73 inches in the deer jump.
At Fill the Bill, youngsters went through several different stations, each with a different kind of bird food and implements to collect it.
Students had to determine which tools were most appropriate for picking up the food – pliers, a strainer, or chopsticks for worms – and then decided which bird ate that food.
There was not always a clear favorite for how to gather the food. For example, the students found that the pliers tended to damage the worms, the strainer didn’t scoop well, and the chopsticks were complicated.
Salamanders featured the slimy and moving parts of the park.
Kylie Maland of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy guided students around in a hunt for creatures.
One group didn’t have much luck — just a slug. Another saw a salamander and had the chance to get nose-to-nose with a northern green frog.
None of the students volunteered to kiss the frog to see what happened, despite encouragement from their classmates.
Seeing that frog was Myla Lyle’s favorite part of the day. “It was gooey,” she said.
The 21st Century Program is funded in full or in part with a grant provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.