More NHEEd to Get Outside Grant Highlights!

nheed to get outside

We are so excited to be offering field trip grants again this year! We wanted to highlight a few more of the field trips that NHEEd helped fund in 2018.

Rochester’s Project SHARE visited the Urban Forestry Center in May with 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. Their program director explains that the Urban Forestry Center allowed kids to see different plants, herbs and shrubs that are native to New Hampshire. This will help students to assist in planning our own community garden.

Second Graders at The Beech Street School in Manchester worked with NH Audubon, who provided monthly Audubon natural science programs and two field trips to the Massabesic Center. Topics covered included NH reptiles and amphibians, insects, animal tracking, and more. Gail Coffey, at NH Audubon wrote that “the programs (especially those with live animals) and the field trips gave wildlife and nature exposure to city kids who have very little of it otherwise. These experiences allowed kids to become comfortable outdoors, spark interests in wildlife and other natural science topics, and helped them to become invested in our environment and to learn about their effects on it. This program would not have been possible without grant funding.”

The Deerfield Community School’s fourth graders took a bus in May to follow the Lamprey River starting behind their school and heading to the sea. Their teacher, Edith Tatulis, explains that they  “stopped at 7 locations, Deerfield, Raymond, Epping, Lee, Newmarket, Dover and New Castle. Students will make a plan, then share the job of taking photos of weathering and erosion they find at each stop. Also, at each stop a brief historical story of that part of the river was told to students. [The] trip ended at Fort Constitution (New Castle), which blends into our study of NH history. After the trip, each group of students created a photo essay of the weathering and erosion they have found using Google slides. They presented to their peers. This trip helped us move beyond our school environment to the watershed of a river that begins near us. It gave students a ‘meaningful outdoor experience’ off school grounds and added to their broader understanding of their natural environment.”

Also in May, Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth, NH sent its 4th, 5th and 6th grade students to Strawberry Banke. This trip helped rural students start to understand a more urban ecology in Portsmouth, NH. Teacher Christina LaRue explained that “This year, our science and social studies curriculum was focused on NH history and ecosystems. We do a lot of inquiry led, project-based learning and have been working with a student generated guiding question, “What happens to a raindrop that falls in Ft. Creek?” (our local stream, named by our students).  We were specifically looking at watersheds and rivers, both ecologically and historically as they have influenced the culture and economy of our area. While we are a nature-based program and our students are outside every day, we do not have the resources for any field trips. As such, students gain a very strong understanding of and relationship with the woods, stream, and river right here at school, but do not have experience with any other parts of NH. This field trip gave us the opportunity to explore an urban setting, in comparison to the ecosystems here at school, and, through Strawberry Banke, to saw history come alive in a way that encourages students to connect with what we’ve been studying. "

Mt. Pleasant School fourth graders, from Nashua, hiked the Wapack and Marion Davis Trails in June. This trip helped students to learn about history, tourism, geography, state symbols and facts, and they searched for New Hampshire symbols on the hike such as granite, white birch trees, ladybugs, purple lilacs, and pink lady's slipper. Their teacher, Caitlin Lomando explains, “We hoped to expose the students to the beauty of New Hampshire's environment. Many of these students are low income and have never been outside of the city, let alone hiked a mountain before. Acquiring a knowledge about New Hampshire symbols and finding them in nature in such an exciting experience for the students.”

Elm Street Middle School in Nashua will use these funds to partner with River Classroom® in September. This is a canoe-based exploration that teaches young people about our rivers, their history and ecology, and the capacity of humans to impact the health of our waterways. Seventh grade teacher Patty Davidson explains that “On River Classroom day, each class will first receive basic paddling and safety instruction on the banks of the river. Participants spend half of the day canoeing on the river while conducting wildlife field studies and joining in geology and history discussions led by River Classroom guides. The students are challenged to use their observation skills on the river and make connections with their own lifestyles, including the continuing effects of non-point source pollution generated by elements such as lawn care, road run-off, pet waste, and recreational use. Students spend the other half of the day along the river banks completing an Aquatic Insect Investigation with River Classroom staff, using specialized equipment to capture, observe, identify, and release macro-invertebrates such as various insect larvae, fish, and crayfish. They will use their data to determine the water quality and general health of the river ecosystem.”

We are so excited about these projects, we’re very glad to be able to support them, and we hope that, in the future, this program will only expand!