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 eighth graders got to see wildlife at Black Hill Regional Park from a completely different angle, kayaking along Little Seneca Lake.
Students spent the morning being trained on water safety and basic kayaking skills. Then, Black Hill naturalists, Ms. Tina and Ms. Katrina, who have been working with Barnesville students throughout the year, joined them on a water-based expedition.
Spotting beaver lodges, naturalists pointed out the underwater access points where the beavers enter the living areas. Students also saw turtles and young geese at two different developmental stages. The group paddled close to the Wood duck nesting boxes and learned that when babies are ready to leave the nest, they launch out onto the water.
In April, students visited an area of the Park after a wildfire and collected data to compare foliage and wildlife in areas affected by the fire to areas untouched. From the kayaks, they could see the same areas from a different angle and took note of the recovery taking place.
On this final visit to the Park, the Class of 2016 dropped off a gift to give back to the community for the experiences they had throughout the year. The students and their families donated a collapsible wagon filled with birdseed, clipboards, and other items the naturalists can use when other students groups visit the Park.
Tara Barnhart, Eighth Grade Teacher and Arts & Sciences Coordinator at Barnesville said, “This was an excellent way to close out the school year. As our eighth graders prepare to graduate and launch out onto new adventures, we have great appreciation for the many ways our partnership with Black Hill continues to open up new learning opportunities for our students.”
Naturalists from Black Hill Regional Park have been teaching first and second graders about native plants on campus. They spent a morning at the Park learning how to properly plant flowers and then put those skills to good use. Students helped plant different varieties of milkweed as well as black-eyed Susans and other butterfly and bird-friendly plants. After helping with the planting, they explored the Park and many of its beautiful gardens. The Black Hill naturalists gave students four ostrich and sensitive ferns that they brought back to campus and immediately planted in the School’s gardens.
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.
As part of his senior project for The Global Ecology House at Poolesville High School, Robert W. (Class of 2012) returned to Barnesville to share his research on the Eastern Bluebird with Middle School students who will be monitoring nesting boxes on our campus.
WATCH TECHNOLOGY & NATURE: First Grade Bird iMovies -- First and fourth grade worked in buddy groups to select birds to study and filled out research organizers. Each first grader then wrote paragraphs from their organizer and produced their own iMovie. Take a look!
WATCH: 2-minute Earth Day Flying WILD Festival video recap. The day was the culmination of six months of bird-related nature lessons, and embodied much of what the School community values as “The Barnesville Way” -- hands-on learning in nature, cross-curricular connections, kind and collaborative interaction among grade levels, and joy.
8th grade is studying forest layers. They hiked in Dickerson to see the State Champion Sycamore Tree. A short video slideshow is on YouTube. The Bluebells are in full bloom!
On Tuesday, April 12, the eighth grade class of the Barnesville School of Arts and Sciences went to Black Hill Regional Park. There, they learned about different layers of a forest, like the herb layer and canopy layer, and about how these layers can be damaged in circumstances like forest fires. They observed an area where there was a fire recently, as well as an untouched area, and discussed the differences. They also witnessed a tree climbing demonstration. Students learned about safety practices for tree climbers, pruning techniques, and how to keep trees healthy.
-- Guest Blogger, Nelli S., Class of 2016
While many projects at Barnesville have a cross-curricular nature, the FlyingWILD bird education program our teachers trained for at Black Hill Regional Park has sparked new ideas that complement our curriculum.Each spring, eighth graders research environmental issues and write a related informational essay. This year, the focus of those papers was endangered birds. Facts from that research were also reflected on birdhouses the students have built as part of their Class Gift to the School. Students were asked to use recycled materials and graffiti art to portray key facts about their endangered birds and Peeps candies to depict the actual birds.
Barnesville’s partnership with Black Hill Regional Park weaves together art, science, and nature, as evidenced by the 6th Grade Bluebird Box project.
Sixth graders put the finishing touches on Bluebird boxes they assembled last week. Black Hill Regional Park Naturalist, Tina Stachura, instructed that when decorating the boxes, it is important to use lighter colors to keep the temperature down inside the boxes to cut down on the mortality rate of the baby birds.Ms. Stachura also took the students outside to scout out ideal locations for the boxes to be installed around Barnesville’s campus. On their visit to Black Hill last week, the sixth graders learned about Bluebirds and how to check on the boxes to ensure they are not taken over by invasive species of birds.
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