At the beginning of May, the Seventh Generation Charter School from Emmaus took an exciting field trip to our Quakertown Swamp Preserve! After last year’s trip to Bristol Marsh and Croydon Woods (with 53 third grade students and about 10 chaperones and teachers), the school chose to visit the Swamp this year for a new adventure.
“This is the best field trip ever!” one student commented as the group made their way into the forest. The activities hadn’t even yet begun–he was just thrilled about all of the mud.
During the field trip, students rotated through three stations, starting with an EnviroScape demonstration. There, they learned about the watershed and how pollution that occurs on land can get into our waterways. The kids were very engaged with the “rain events” and seeing how water runs downhill toward the river. Next, they were led on an exploration of vernal pools–small, seasonal pools of water that provide habitat for certain species of plants and animals–for tadpoles and macroinvertebrates. While they were at it, they also peered under logs in search of bugs and salamanders. Students got very muddy, and they loved it! Lastly, in the great “Meadow Turtle Search,” kids learned all about the importance of meadow habitat. They then proceeded to walk around looking for box turtles. Yells of excitement filled the air as their search efforts were rewarded with a few turtle sightings!
Shannon Fredebaugh, Community Engagement Programs Manager for Heritage Conservancy, reported that out of the 53 students, only two had their boots get snatched off by the squishy ground, and just one nearly fell into the water–“Pretty good odds for third graders!” she laughed.
Though there was some initial hesitation at the muddy conditions, all of the kids were having a blast by the trip’s end. “One little girl wearing pink boots said she didn’t like mud,” Shannon said. “A few minutes later, she came running over to me with a huge smile, boots caked in sticky mud, showing me a small tadpole in her hands. Clearly, the mud didn’t bother her anymore.”
It’s always wonderful to see young explorers enjoying the great outdoors and making lasting memories in our area’s natural lands. Many thanks to the Richland Township police officers who offered us a safe escort across the road to and from the Quakertown Swamp Preserve!