Students Visit Five Heritage Conservancy Preserves Without Leaving the Classroom

Please keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and enjoy the ride!

Through virtual field trips that “flew” students to different nature preserves owned by Heritage Conservancy, students from Keystone Elementary School, Ithan Elementary School, and the Palisades School District recently learned about various ecosystems and wildlife habitats that are located right here in our area. The Conservancy’s Community Engagement Programs Manager, Shannon Fredebaugh-Siller, used maps and Google Earth to help over 200 students imagine flying around Bucks County.

Croydon Woods Nature Preserve, the Durham Bat Mine, the Quakertown Swamp Preserve, Jackson Pond Preserve’s pollinator meadow, Fuller/Pursell Nature Preserve, and Hart’s Woods Preserve were the airline destinations of the day, where the focus was on the unique habitat types of each property. Students learned about key characteristics of the ecosystems and then explored for sights and sounds of different plants and animals.

Kids’ faces lit up with excitement when they “visited” Quakertown Swamp at night with their eyes closed so they could hear the spring peepers! They also enjoyed counting bird nests at the great blue heron rookery in the Swamp.

Shannon also showed the students a collection of water bugs that she had scooped up from a creek behind her house to highlight what they might discover close to their own homes. The kids were thrilled to watch as aquatic snails came out from their shells and moved around the petri dish right before their eyes on screen under a microscope.

When the virtual field trips concluded and all “flights” had safely landed, Shannon encouraged the students to explore these properties in person to continue their learning. Heritage Conservancy was thrilled to have this opportunity to creatively connect the next generation with nature!