Nevada Wildlife Record Book Foundation

Jessie Beck Elementary School 5 th Grade Trip to Grizzly Creek Ranch

For the 2010-2011 school year, the Nevada Wildlife Record Book Foundation funded the participant fees for every fifth grader from Jessie Beck Elementary to attend a three-day, two-night excursion to Grizzly Creek Ranch, outside of Portola, California. All students had to raise was the money for transportation to get there ($25 a person). The purpose was to create an opportunity where the students could interact with their science in an outdoor forum. The second overall objective was to introduce the students from a variety of backgrounds to the outdoors so that they left the experience with a positive attitude toward nature and wildlife.

This is the third year for this endeavor. Instructors have noticed students’ wildlife interactions and educational experience has been greatly increased over this time. Frequently students see wildlife on the bus ride out (about 30 does and bucks were seen this year in a field this side of Portola). Informal animal tracking/identification takes place as groups find deer, coyote, and other tracks as they venture through the woods. Students participated in an in-depth analysis of a pond’s ecology and ecosystem. They learned about invertebrates and vertebrates, invasive species, life cycles, and more. Students learned about adaptations and camouflage in order to help a creature survive. Students learned more about ecosystems during nature hikes and talks at night, including the night hike. During this hike, students walked in small groups through the woods, learning a vast amount of information about the creatures that come out in the darkness. It is also an activity where no lights of any kind are permitted (making for an even better learning experience).

Students also are introduced to the sport of archery. This is one of the most exciting experiences for many of the children. Last year, several students tried talking their parents into getting them into the sport after we returned.

Students spent an afternoon reflecting about the experience in their science lab book upon returning from the trip. They reflected upon how this experience taught them more about themselves, nature and scientific concepts. Students prepared a newsletter with the most important information from these reflections.

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