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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.

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7th Grade Student Earns Honorable Mention at Youth Wildfowl Carving Competition

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.

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Naturalists Lead Campus Scavenger Hunt and Check Bluebird Nesting Boxes

Naturalists from Black Hill took 1st and 2nd graders on a nature and wildlife scavenger hunt around the Barnesville School campus yesterday.

They found empty bird nests and praying mantis egg case.

They also looked inside the Bluebird nesting boxes installed around campus by last year's 6th grade.

Today, the kids went to Black Hill where they learned about worms and the role they play in gardens, as well as which animals rely on worms as a food source.

While the naturalists were on campus, they trained our entire faculty on how to monitor the Bluebird nesting boxes.

Posted by Jan Hyland on Thursday April 6, 2017 at 03:16PM
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Preschool Hunts for Nests at Black Hill Regional Park

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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Preschool Builds Bird Nests

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.

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Bald Eagle Spotted Flying With Vultures

Black Hill Naturalist Ms. Tina visited Barnesville and met with fifth and sixth graders to talk about plans for the Bluebird nesting boxes installed around campus. The group then visited Black Hill and continued that discussion with Ms. Lynette. She also talked to them about the other birds in our area and gave them tips for birdwatching and feeding.

Students spent some time birdwatching along the lake and spotted a Bald Eagle circling overhead with some Vultures and were able to compare their features.

While visiting the bird feeding station and bird blind located next to the lake, they saw Canada Geese, Buffleheads, Nuthatches, Titmice, Chickadees, Crows & a Downy Woodpecker.

Posted by Jan Hyland on Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 02:03PM
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Waterfowl Adventures for Third and Fourth Graders

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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Kindergarten Explores Habitats on Campus and at Black Hill

Ms. Katrina, a naturalist from Black Hill Regional Park, visited with the kindergarten class to teach them about how to explore natural habitats found on campus. Following is some of what they did:

  • Learned how to use binoculars
  • Talked about rules for observing birds in the wild
  • Walked around campus looking and listening for birds
  • Saw empty shells from molted Cicadas
  • Walked behind the fenceline and found funnel spider webs and a fox skull!
  • Listened to birds in Explorer Woods
  • Found a Persimmon Tree -- foxes love persimmon fruit

A few days later, the class took a field trip to Black HIll Regional Park:

  • Watched a live webcam of a Peregrine Falcon in Baltimore
  • Talked about Bald Eagles
  • Learned about Monarch Butterflies
  • Helped tag Monarch Butterflies to help with a study by the University of Kansas
  • Helped release Monarch Butterflies
  • Saat in a bird blind to watch for birds
  • Explored different habitats around the Park looking for birds and other wildlife
    • Meadow
    • Pond
    • Lake
    • Woods
Posted by Jan Hyland on Monday October 3, 2016 at 02:37PM
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Kayaking on Little Seneca Lake, Eighth Grade Explores Wildlife from the Water

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.”

Posted by Jan Hyland on Thursday June 9, 2016 at 03:33PM
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Ward Museum Awards Given to Two Barnesville Students

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.

Posted by Jan Hyland on Thursday April 28, 2016 at 07:04AM
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Alum Shares Study of Eastern Bluebirds

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.

Posted by Jan Hyland on Wednesday April 27, 2016 at 06:41PM
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