On a beautiful May day, 66 fifth grade students and their teachers flocked outside to study bird habitats and stream health at Kiwanis Lake and Noonan Park.
The students, all from Jacob L. Devers School in York City, were part of an Audubon Pennsylvania program to get York City students excited about science and nature. The partnership between Audubon Pennsylvania and Devers Elementary was made possible in part by a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation's Fund for York County and its focus on education. Audubon provided a weekly environmental after-school club for students in fifth to eighth grades and worked with the students during the school day, teaching them science and environmental lessons.
The field trip was the culmination of a yearlong program headed by Amy Weidensaul, director of education and engagement from Audubon Pennsylvania. During the year, Audubon educators provided a series of hands-on programs that explored a variety of science topics, including endangered species, habitat and ecosystems, animal adaptation and stream ecosystems.
According to Dr. Janice Protopapas, coordinator for the Environmental Club at Devers, the Audubon program was a huge success. "Our students in the city truly enjoy the opportunities to explore our 'living classroom,'" shared Dr. Protopapas. Maximizing these opportunities for students to learn through experience helps achieve the Community Foundation's vision that every child in York County receives a premier education.
Many of the students experienced something for the first time, like Jania and Bishop, who discovered that egrets and crayfish live at Kiwanis Lake; Carlierys, who learned how to plant; and Guadaluope, who used a wheelbarrow for the first time.
"The lessons experienced through our field trip will last a lifetime," said Catherine Landis, one of the fifth grade teachers. "Many students have brought their families to Kiwanis Lake to educate them on the endangered birds that live there. Our students are excited about their responsibility to our city and preserving the habitat of these cool birds."
The excitement for the program hasn't stopped there. Dr. Protopapas added, "They are already asking about the club for next year!"
Maximizing these opportunities for students to learn through experience helps achieve the Community Foundation's vision that every child in York County receives a premier education.