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.
While visiting Black Hill Regional Park, Barnesville eighth graders were introduced to a variety of different types of nature journals. They were given options to create their own, using materials like paper bags to make the covers. Some students decorated them using simple watercolor paints. Others created a tie dye effect using shaving cream and food coloring. (NOTE: Here's a link with instructions how to make your own tie dye stationary).
After creating their journals, they went outside to do a field observation. They sat near the edge of Little Seneca Lake (a reservoir that is part of the Montgomery County, Maryland Parks system) to listen, observe, record, sketch, and write.
Later, students went back to the Nature Center and some students shared their observations and journal entries.
Black Hill naturalists spent time with Barnesville Preschoolers (EC3 and PreK classes) to work on nature observation skills.
Ms. Tina visited Barnesville’s campus where she led the kids on a scavenger hunt looking for wildlife around campus. They first made predictions about what kids on things they thought would be easier or harder to find. They then set out to find things like mushrooms, moldy leaves, and insects and then compared their predictions to their experience.
The next day, students put their observation skills to work at Black Hill Regional Park. They looked at plants and tress up close with magnifying glasses. On a walk in the woods, they looked under logs for signs of life, being careful to not be disruptive to the natural setting. The group walked through a meadow hoping to observe birds by the lake. While there were no birds at that time, they did get to see a frog in the Nature Center.
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.
Check out the slideshow...
In 2016 Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences 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 are taking on a leadership role by planning, prepping materials, and leading small group activity stations. They have been spending time with Black Hill Naturalists planning for the second annual schoolwide Earth Day celebration which will take place on Friday, April 21.
While visiting Black Hill Regional Park, Barnesville seventh grade students brainstormed on a theme. They decided on “Plants and Gardening.” They researched activity ideas and voted as a class to decide which activities best fit the theme and were appropriate for all grade levels. They also had an opportunity to tour some plant activity stations at Black Hill Nature Center to get more ideas.
Stay tuned for more about this year’s Earth Day celebration!
EC/Pre-K had a wonderful time visiting Black Hill Regional Park. The students learned how to operate real binoculars and spent time birdwatching from a duck blind. They explored around Little Seneca Lake and tried to locate more birds as well as nests.
Back at the Nature Center, the preschoolers put their newly developed nest-building skills to work making nests using materials found in nature.
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Miss Tina, a Black Hill Naturalist, came to talk to Barnesville’s early childhood and pre-k classes about nature, birds, and bird nests. Preschoolers studied real bird nests then made some of their own! Pre-k students made observational drawings of their nest and designed a bird that would live there. They named the bird, drew the birds, and decided on characteristics of the new species.
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.
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