The Voyagers have been in a Nature Unit this month that will continue through the end of the year.
As I was researching fresh ideas to explore Earth Day I found that all of the one-day ideas were activities that we engage in naturally all year long. We are outside watching Spring transform our property, we noticed when the colorful butterflies and moths returned, and we gazed at the beetles as they crawled in their familiar trees. We know about swallows and have been watching them return to their nest outside of our classroom window. So how can we honor Earth Day in a Neskowin Valley School way?
We started with the world creating a paper-mache project to create a globe. One student shared that they learned that they didn't know about the land masses. She was thankful to learn about the shapes of the continents and to be able to place them in the correct positions. We will be studying World Geography in depth next year as it becomes our Social Studies focus of our learning cycle.
Next, each student took a camera into our nearest forest to take a photograph of a specimen that they could not quickly name. The assignment is to find a species, look it up in the books from our library, then draw and write about it in our nature journals. Once this step is complete, they may log into the Apple computers to create a document to store the information. Our goal is to create an online field guide of the plants of Neskowin Valley.
We took time to remember how much the students have worked to restore our playground property at the creek. They have planted trees and allowed the creek to be self-directed which has caused this tiny tributary to meander into the Slab Creek with beautiful turns. One student shared the contrast of prior years when the Wood Sorrel only grew in one area but that now it is thriving in several protected natural areas.
We protect the things we love. I am thankful to work at a nature-based, place-based school where we are able to interact with our natural world every day, integrating all of the academic areas with outdoor play and study. May it be Earth Day every day of the year.
~ Teacher Angie