Fourth-Grade Advances Their Natural Science Education Through a Vernal Pool Exploration

Part of the fourth-grade curriculum focuses on animals and local geography; last week’s field trip was a perfect overlap of these two areas of study. Clayton Kern, Education Coordinator at Kestral Education Adventures joined us as we ventured into the neighboring JC Phillips Preserve. Along the way, we looked for signs of spring and spotted our state flower, the Mayflower. They are sprouting up all over, carpeting the forest floor. Clay had scouted out an active vernal pool and brought all sorts of tools out to help us explore. We learned about what a vernal pool is and what types of living things may reside there. The students took a closer look with magnifying lenses and microscopes to view some of the unique inhabitants they found. We were also lucky to spy a mother raccoon with babies safely hiding in a hollowed out tree and a garter snake basking in the sunny leaves along the ground. It felt so nice to be outside with the sun shining and the hopeful feelings that spring brings with its arrival. We will definitely plan to visit the pool again to see how the water level and surrounding plants change over the course of the next season and years to come.

By Coleen Ryan, Science-In-Nature Program Coordinator

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