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's 3rd and 4th graders spent a morning exploring the wetland and storm water facilities at Germantown Town Center Urban Park.
The students examined the different plants, birds, and wildlife that make up a wetland. The group ended their field study back at Black Hill Regional Park, taking the time to make observational drawings of the natural treasures found while exploring the wetlands earlier.
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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.
Black Hill Naturalist Katrina Fauss introduced the topic of nature journaling to our 8th graders. She showed them a variety of different types of journals and explained the methodology of journaling.
To prepare for a journaling project at the Park, Ms. Katrina came to Barnesville to talk about techniques and lead students in a practice journaling exercise on our campus. She talked about “how to be still” while out in nature so students can concentrate on individual senses, giving each intentional focus -- first visual, then sound.
Students completed a “pick your place” template once they found their observation spot outside. They were given about ten minutes to complete a chart that recorded: time and place, weather, sounds, colors, animals, patterns, and discoveries. Once this exercise was complete, students then used a nature journal reminders checklist to help them remember more details. They were asked to sketch what they saw and draw the whole object and then a small part of it. They were prompted to think about making comparisons with respect to size, texture and smell. Students also added new details to assist them in going beyond what they already knew.
While at Barnesville, Ms. Katrina also showed the 8th graders how to tye dye paper using shaving cream. The colorful papers were used to make covers for their new journals, which students took to Black Hill Regional Park with them the next day.
In science class, 8th graders have been studying matter, so at the Park students were asked to pair what they’ve learned with their new observation and journaling skills. While observing nature at the park, they considered the continual lifespan of matter in the water cycle, carbon cycle, and the use of finite natural resources. The purpose of the exercise was to help students understand that while matter can't actually be destroyed, human interaction with the environment can change the way the particles are arranged, where they exist on the planet and in the atmosphere (i.e. by burning fossil fuels) and disrupt the balance of the cycle.
One student journaled about his observation of sitting on the edge of the lake at Black Hill Regional Park. He wrote a diamante poem about how the water impacted him. Another exercise had students spend some time in an area of the forest where there had been fire damage. Students explored the area, looking for evidence of the fire and examining areas of regrowth. Then, they were given the option of writing a story, poem or newspaper article about the impact of the fire.
Third and fourth grades had a grand experience learning about waterfowl from Jen Scully, a naturalist from Black Hill Regional Park. During the two-day field study, students learned the differences between loons, coots, and mallards. On their field trip to Black Hill, students used binoculars to observe different waterfowl in their natural habitat. As an added treat, they got to see a blue heron and a cormorant.
Barnesville fifth graders, Toby A. and Auveen K., each earned 4th Place Honorable Mention recognitions in the Laughing Gull Silhouette contest at the 46th Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival. Local wildfowl woodcarving specialist, Gary Stenger, accepted the awards on behalf of the Barnesville students. Thanks to Mr. Stenger’s coaching and sponsorship, every Barnesville student painted a wooden silhouette of a Laughing Gull for the national competition.
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