Black Hill Partnership Blog
In the fall of 2015, Barnesville embarked on a school-wide partnership with Black Hill Regional Park to enhance outdoor and environmental education across the School’s curriculum. This blog chronicles related programs and activities.
Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences seventh grader Jordan T. earned an Honorable Mention for her goldfinch silhouette bird carving in the Annual Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival.
Working under the guidance of wildfowl woodcarving specialist, Gary Stenger, Barnesville fourth and seventh grade students created bird silhouettes that were submitted for the Youth Competition held in Ocean City April 28-30.
Barnesville seventh graders learned carving techniques from Mr. Stenger and his wife Pam. Using dremel sanders and other tools, students created feather grooving texture and added additional details with paint on wooden goldfinch silhouettes. Fourth graders painted morning doves. Reclaimed wood from a Barnesville family’s farm was used to mount the silhouettes on wooden bases.
This is the second year that Mr. Stenger worked with Barnesville students, building on the School's partnership with Black Hill Regional Park.
Barnesville's 7th graders released 37 Golden Rainbow Trout fingerlings into Little Seneca Creek. The students raised the fish from eggs and have cared for them in the classroom since December 2016. They monitored the water chemistry of the tank and changed the water as needed as they observed the growth of the trout. The trout unit is a part of the life science curriculum.
On the day of the release, Middle School Science Teacher Mrs. Farah and the seventh graders met Black Hill Naturalist Katrina Fauss at Little Seneca Creek Park. The students individually counted and released the fingerlings. Then, they hiked back upstream and Ms. Katrina led them in a benthic macroinvertebrate sampling lab.
A benthic macroinvertebrate is a spineless organism that lives at the bottom of a stream or creek. They are an indicator species that scientists can use to determine the health of a stream ecosystem. The students were first briefed on the types of invertebrates they could expect to find and provided with dichotomous keys to aid in identification. Next, they waded into the creek to disturb the creek bottom whiling using nets to collect the organisms that became dislodged. Sampling took about an hour, but when the class was finished, they had larva from crane flies, mayflies, and dragonflies, 2 crayfish, 2 types of fish, and numerous snails. They even found some salamander eggs.
“The amount and diversity of the invertebrates they found demonstrated a very healthy stream environment for our trout,” said Mrs. Farah.
Students also tested the water for ammonia, nitrates, and pH level. They compared the stream data with the data the were previously monitoring in the tank. Some of the students were impressed that, while we were constantly adjusting chemicals to maintain the water quality of the tank, the stream data was perfectly balanced, without outside help.Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a hands-on environmental program in which students raise trout from eggs to fingerling, manage chilled tank water quality, engage in stream habitat study, learn to appreciate water resources, develop a conservation ethic, and are taught to understand ecosystem connectivity.
More photos can be viewed on a Facebook Slideshow.
Skills honed in the School’s Makerspace were put to use at a Bark Boat building station at the Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences Plants & Gardening Earth Day 2017 celebration.
Students built and test-floated mini sailboats using bark as boat hulls. Older students paired with their younger Buddies drilled holes in chunks of bark to install masts and sails. Mr. Weintraub built a temporary pond on the blacktop where the boats were tested for buoyancy and speed. Most boats sank or tipped on the first sail attempt, so students made adjustments -- selecting different sized or shaped bark, moving the mast, and changing the sail until they got their boats to float. Video is posted on Facebook.
In 2016, Barnesville faculty and naturalists from Black Hill Regional Park teamed up to create a Flying WILD Festival, an entire day of fun outdoor and environmental education activities related to birds, their habitats, and their migration. The day was the culmination of six months of bird-related nature lessons. This year, Barnesville seventh graders planned a similar Earth Day festival centered on plants and gardening. After spending time planning with Black Hill Naturalists, the students selected the theme and planned related educational games, crafts, and activities.
The day started with students from each grade reading facts about Earth Day, after which everyone viewed a short film. The seventh graders then led pre-k through eighth grade students paired in their Buddy Groups through a rotation of games, crafts, and activities at six different outdoor stations. Stations included: building Bark Boats, creating Fairy Gardens with herb seedlings, making recycled newspaper pots for pollinator plantings, a Weeds vs. Flower game, Water the Flowers relay races, and a nature scavenger hunt in Explorer Woods. Kids also enjoyed casual time with their Buddies playing sidewalk games and having fun with chalk and bubbles. They also used dandelion blooms to create a giant peace side on the hillside facing Barnesville Road.
Snapshots from the day are can be viewed in a Facebook Photo Album.
Some of the day’s events were streamed live on Facebook and can be seen using the following links:
Choose groups to clone to: