by Teacher Peter Manzelmann
Teacher Skye and I wanted to share more about our successful trip to the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC). We had a great trip and learned so much about our natural world!
The bus trip – The fender bender and delay were an unfortunate way to begin our adventure, but no one involved was hurt and our students were very mature about the whole event.
Pond Ecology – The kids used nets to scrape the edges of the pond to discover all sorts of creatures (crayfish, water spiders, salamanders, sunfish, dragonfly nymphs, etc.). The PEEC instructor taught us some very “cool” facts about each of these pond dwellers.
Orienteering – After being taught how to use the map and compass, students (groups of three) took on the challenge of then going out into the woods to find specific locations using those skills.
Canoeing – Practiced on the front pond using different strokes. Good practice for next year’s annual 8th grade Pine Barrens canoe trip.
Team Building – Our group was given a number of challenges (the spider web, the Bog Turtle, and the snowshoe activity) as they were asked to work together by sharing ideas, listening to each other, and learning to organize.
Night Hike – Awesome! The PEEC leader led us into the dark forest with no flashlights! Boy, was it dark. He taught us about the rods and cones in our eyes and how they adjust to the lack of light. We even did a solo walk to the infamous abandoned 1930’s Ford!
Free Time – The 7th grade class took full advantage of their limited free time to play some energetic games of Hide/Seek and Tag.
Swamping – Each child was asked to do swamp duty at the dining hall for one meal. Swampers were asked to go the dining hall 15 min. before meal time to set up the tables for their classmates.
Tracking and Stalking – We learned about different ways that animals walk (their gait) and played a fun game with a blindfold. They loved trying to quietly sneak up on the chosen student.
EcoZone – Students enjoyed exploring the beaver lodge, the bat cave, the animal pelts, turtles, black rat snake, and the hydroponic fish/plant station.
Campfire and Native American Council – On the last night around the fire, students reflected on their nature experiences at PEEC and on any personal goals they have for the coming year. Your children participated with depth and maturity.
Tumbling Waters Hike – We ended our trip with a three mile hike around the ponds, through the forests, past the waterfall, over the ridge and back down to the PEEC campus. Students loved the many salamanders on the trail!
Nature – Throughout the trip the PEEC instructors, Skye and I pointed out all the nature that surrounded us (red eft salamanders, toads, snakes, insects, Pileated Woodpecker holes, trees and plants, etc.). Lots of open ears and bulging eyes! They were curious even if they didn’t admit it!