Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saginaw Chippewa Academy students at Audubon Woods

This time of year I deliberately schedule most of my programs to be outside.  Whenever possible, I like to get students out into the woods or into a wetland so they can get a hands-on experience that is impossible in the classroom.  My favorite place to do this is the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Audubon Woods Preserve.  This wooded forty acre preserve is located in southwestern Isabella County on the corner of Wing Road and Gilmore Road.  Unfortunately, it's too far away for most schools to easily visit.  I take students from Winn Elementary once or twice a year to study forestry and forest ecology - some of them have now made 5 or 6 different visits to this preserve in the past three years.  Yesterday I was joined by 3rd grade students from the Saginaw Chippewa Academy.  This was the first time any of these students (or the adults with them) had ever visited Audubon Woods.  Because this was their first visit, I only planned one activity for them to do - tree measurement.  The rest of the time I left available for them to explore on their own.

Here are a few pictures from their visit.

SCA students hard at work.

Students computing tree diameter - they first measured the circumference and then divided by pi (3.14).

It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.

Downy Yellow Violet adds a pop of color to the forest floor.

The long streak continues - every year, students find (and remove) at least one tire from Audubon Woods.

One sharp-eyed student spied a pair of morel mushrooms on the forest floor.

Wood Frogs are a common sight at Audubon Woods

Plants along the trail include ferns and Long-spurred Violets.

Most of the students went down to check out the river's edge.
Making the long climb back up from the river

My favorite picture of the day was one of the first ones I took.  While measuring a tree, a group of students noticed a Grey Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) clinging to its bark.

Grey Tree Frogs usually blend in well with their surroundings.

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