Sagehen Creek outdoor education |

Sagehen Creek outdoor education

North Tahoe School fifth grade teacher Mr. David Goggin with fifth grade students James McKelvey and Reed Gebhardt listen and learn as instructor Missy Mohler (not pictured) invites them into the icy waters for a and#8220;cool lesson.and#8221;

On Oct. 5, students and parent chaperones from Mr. Gogginand#8217;s fifth grade class left the confines of their North Tahoe classroom. Armed with journals, sleeping bags and assorted layers of clothing, they made their way to UC Berkeleyand#8217;s Sagehen Creek field station.

Thirteen miles north of Truckee and two miles down a dirt road, students caught their first glimpse of the meadows, forest, and stream that would compose their natural classroom for the next two days.

Field instructors Jen Ward and Dylan Farnsworth led students in games, songs and activities to develop teamwork and promote a sense of community while getting students acquainted with their outdoor classroom. UC Fellows, Gordon Bennett and Jessica Shade, led academic lessons utilizing the grounds of the field station as a living laboratory.

With Bennett, student learned about insects. Equipped with bug nets and plastic vials, student collected grasshoppers to measure and observe. The data they recorded about the local grasshopper population will be entered into the UCB database. Working with Shade, students learned about plants and even set up a living model to observe photosynthesis in action.

After a night of entertainment under the stars that included a theatrical rendition of Dr. Seussand#8217;s The Lorax and a selection of nature themed sing-a-longs, students retired to their bunkhouses to recharge.

The following day, educators from Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP), taught lessons that led students on a further exploration of local plants as well as into the cool waters of Sagehen Creek. Students donned waders to collect macroinvertebrates, measure water and air temperatures, along with pH and dissolved oxygen levels in an effort to understand the characteristics of a healthy stream. The day culminated in a scavenger hunt, complete with an orienteering lesson, to the top of Candy Mountain.

Students in Mr. Gogginand#8217;s class took part in a two-day Sagehen Outdoor Education Program. The program is one component of UC Berkeleyand#8217;s Exploring California Biodiversity project that works to encourage exposure and exploration of our natural environments by connecting graduate students with students in grades K-12 in communities in the Bay Area and areas surrounding UC Berkeley field stations. All fifth grade classes in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District took part in a multi-day trip to the Sagehen Creek field station this fall.

and#8212; Rebekka Fine, 2009 Site Coordinator, Sagehen Outdoor Education Program

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