Once again, the Windham Foundation provided funding to Cornell Cooperative Extension to conduct 5 nature programs for the WAJ Science Club from February – June 2016. The students enjoy hands-on projects conducted by the CCE Extension Educators. WAJ science teachers and parent volunteers participate in the learning process. All of the sessions are conducted at the AgroForestry Resource Center in Acra.
Owl Pellet Dissection Lab—Exploring the Food Web–February
Owls have complicated digestive systems that allow them to swallow small rodents and birds whole. This provides a unique opportunity for young people to explore the food web. Dissection kits will be provided that empower students to identify what the owl ate last. Participants will learn to deduct information about the food web, prey-predator relationships and the owl’s natural surroundings by analyzing the remains found inside the pellet.
Bird Migration Challenge –March
Exploring migration patterns tells a great story about the challenges birds face as the seasons change. Each station will outline a specific challenge that they (Every student is assigned a bird species) will face during their lengthy migration. The concept of preserving natural spaces for bird migration will be discussed as the session progresses.
Knowing how to read a map is an invaluable skill that enables young people to enjoy the forest. In this sessions students will familiarize themselves with orienteering skills using maps, compasses, and GPS units.
Spring Tree Id–May
Spring is the perfect time to learn about tree identification. Students will learn to explore the forest from a new perspective. As participants learn about leaf, branch, and bark structure they develop a more complex understanding of the forest.
Soil, The foundation of the Forest—June
Soil is a complex substance filled with living organisms, it is the source of life in the forest. In this lesson students will use augers to obtain soil samples. Observations about the different layers of soil will be made and an understanding of the living soil profile will be established.