On the afternoon of Sept. 27th, the HCMS once again had the opportunity to work with our field biologists, Heidi and Jeff.
Twelve students choose to work closely with Jeff on doing more surveying in the southeast corner to potentially find a place to build a rain garden. Six lucky students got the chance to make homemade salsa with Sharon in the kitchen.
The rest of the 6th – 8th grade students were split into 2 groups and rotated between two stations. The first station students climbed into waders and dove in the pond to clip back some of our cattail problem, with Heidi and Mrs. Ramel. The second rotation was working with Ms. Tess on preparing the garden for the winter and picking the last of the produce. Many more bugs were caught and the students even found mice and shrews in the garden.
After School with Tom Riley
A small group of middle school students signed up for the chance to spend time in the woods with Mr. Tom Riley learning about ginseng. Ginseng is often used tin teas. The Chinese use it in medicines. Students were able to harvest the root and plant the seeds from a mature plant.
On Tuesday, September 20th the Highland Community Middle School was introduced to their field biologist for the school year. Heidi Doyle from Madison will be working with the district on Tuesdays all year long with assistance from Jeff Nania. Both are highly knowledgeable in their fields and are bringing great energy for our outdoor education.
To start things off all the 6-8 graders were gathered in the cafeteria Tuesday morning for introductions and to check the bear trunk brought in by the field biologist. The bear trunk included different kinds of bear skulls, a hide, and many different molds made out of plastic.
Then the students were split into their IPT groups to rotate between sessions. These groups are composed of around 20 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and one middle school teacher. They are predetermined at the beginning of the year.
Jeff led the session on surveying and mapping the landscape to help the students understand the water problem on the southeast corner of the building. Students were taught how to use the surveying equipment that Jeff had brought with him.
During Heidi’s session students learned about the outdoor environments that are all around them. They collected bug and plant samples to identify while showing Heidi around the woods, prairie, garden, and pond. Many creatures were captured and put to sleep to start the HCMS bug collection and ID guide.
The last session was lead by middle school teachers Ms. Tess, Mrs. Ramel, and Mr. Link with their own IPT groups. During this time, students pulled weeds in the prairie plants and cleaned up the native landscape, picked produce from the garden, collected dry seeds from prairie plants, and transplanted some of the native prairie plants that needed to be moved.
We had great weather and a group of hardworking kids to make this a very successful day.
Blackhawk ABC scavenger hunt 9-8-11
On Thursday, the HCMS took the whole group to Blackhawk to work with field guides and identify things in nature. Each group of three was give a blank sheet with the ABC’s on it. It was their mission to find an item to represent each letter. Some items they collected, others were photograph because they were not easy to take with us. At the end of the day the scavenger hunts were collected and winners were announced the following week.
It was a beautiful day to be outside and the students worked hard to identify different types of plants and other things found in nature.
We learned that scientific names sometimes gave us a wide variety of letters that we can use. Many students also got beautiful pictures of Monarch butterflies up close.