On Thursday, May 7th, G.C. Hartman's First Grade students will be participating in an all-day, outdoor classroom experience emphasizing nature studies on the school’s nearby nature trail .  "The day’s activities will bring an appreciation and better understanding of natural habitats and its inhabitants," stated Michele Richards, President of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, a non-profit group which is coordinating the day's actvities.  Students will spend the entire day outdoors, rotating through five learning stations taught by representatives from the Columbia County Conservation District, DCNR-Bureau of Forestry, Montour Area Recreation Commission, PA Fish and Boat Commission, and PA Master Naturalist.  At one of the stations, students will learn about trees and practice good stewardship in celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day by planting trees provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The following is an overview of the learning stations the First Grade students will be engaged in:
 
Station 1
NATURE BINGO on SCA’s Nature Trail
Students will join two SCA High School Students and walk the nature trail looking for different nature signs.  They will be asked to complete a bingo card where they are provided words representing various animal, plant, natural habitat and objects along the trail.  Students will be asked to draw pictures of the nature signs indicated on their worksheet when they see it along the trail.  This activity will help increase their observation skills and become more aware of nature around them.
 
Station 2
TREE PLANTING
A Forester from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry, will introduce students to some common trees of Pennsylvania and lead them in an activity of planting several native trees near the nature trail.  They will learn the basic needs of trees, importance of plants in our natural environment, and conservation of our natural resources through tree planting.  Students will be able to visit the nature trail in the future as part of outdoor classroom activities to observe the growth and success of their plantings.
 
Station 3
STREAM AND POND STUDY
A Wildlife Conservation Officer with the PA Fish and Boat Commission will introduce students to various water habitats including two different streams and a vernal pond. Students will break into smaller groups and explore these water habitats looking for aquatic life. They will learn about the basic needs of various aquatic organisms, where they live in their special wetland habitat, and their special adaptations to live in water.
 
Station 4
AQUATIC LIFE AND OTHER  WILD CRITTERS
A naturalist will introduce students to several animals found in natural habitats of the nature trail and their backyards. Students will meet a reptile, amphibian, and some other aquatic organisms while learning about their basic needs, adaptations they need to live in their natural habitat, and what makes them special.
 
Station 5
POLLINATOR FRIENDS
The Columbia County Conservation District will teach students about insect pollination by becoming busy bees themselves and “race” to a flower to get their yummy meal of powdery pollen. Students will learn about the parts of a flower and how plants need bees and other insect friends to make new flowers.  While looking at photos of native bees, students will learn about the important jobs they and other pollinators do for us.

Special Features

Parents and other school community members are encouraged to share their viewpoints about key educational issues, particularly those concerning digital learning and the use of technology to support future ready schools, by participating in the Speak Up Project for Digital Learning, facilitated by Project Tomorrow.  The annual national research project gives education stakeholders the opportunity to ensure their voice is heard not only at Southern Columbia, but at the state and national level as findings are summarized aLearn More

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