Students from Fayetteville Public Schools learn about ecosystems, adaptations, and much more!
Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center, a collaborative effort among several local organizations, just finished hosting its first groups of students from the Fayetteville School District! Fourth-graders from Butterfield Trail Elementary School spent a half-day at the classroom learning about ecosystems, citizen science, plant/animal adaptations, and erosion through interactive activities.
The first half of the trip consisted of a suite of activities at the nature center. Students dressed up as a flower or a bee while learning the different adaptations that make pollination possible. Then they used natural materials to build their own mountains to experiment with wind and water to erode their creations.
Next, students took a nature hike on the 0.6-mile interpretive loop trail. They used a field guide to take observations and fill out a scavenger hunt. Among the items they looked for were “a place where water flows,” “something a plant uses to protect itself,” and “I used my magnifying glass to see…” Students found ample opportunity to practice being citizen scientists! At one point on the trail, they spent time doing nature sketches and composed poetry about their surroundings. Many were proud of their artwork and were eager to share it with the rest of the class.
In addition to the fourth-graders, some high school students also visited the classroom. The AP Environmental Science class spent a full day there learning about how humans impact the environment and how land use planning works. They ate pizzas from Frank Sharp’s famous pizza oven before hiking to Rock City, one of the most scenic spots on Kessler Mountain.
The Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center is still in progress, but these first field trips show that the classroom has great potential for environmental education that is local, accessible, and open to the public! If you would like to get involved at the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Fayetteville Public Schools, Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, Boston Mountain Solid Waste District, Mt. Kessler Greenways, Arkansas Native Plant Society, and the National Park Service for working to make these field trips a success!!
Photo: Karen Rollet-Crocker