Dirt + Water + Bugs + Kids = Education

Small beaver dam south of Memorial Street bridge.

Aaron Bartleson Pointing Out Debris in Willow Creek

Lamar Parkview Elementary School students went into the field this past chilly Wednesday, April 17, accompanied by members of the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.  The students got only as far as Willow Creek Park, but that was far enough to supply the basic teaching materials for the day.

Searching for a Bug

Linda Groat, Aaron Bartleson and Mike Brown from the DPW spent time along the creek running through the park, providing a commentary on ecology, water pollution, water availability and the need to be responsible citizens.  Linda Groat, stationed farther south along the creek and past the Memorial Street Bridge, was holding an open classroom on bugs, beavers and various small, crawly things that can be found in the ponds around the park. 

Identifying a Bug

The most obvious item the students studied was a beaver-built dam, located several yards away from the dirt path under the bridge that runs parallel to the creek.  The beaver was not in evidence Wednesday morning, but the students were impressed with the intricate earth moving work it had used, incorporated mud and sticks and twigs, to reduce the water flow into the park.  Groat also led the students in identifying some of the water bugs that can be found in most bodies of water throughout the area.  Equipped with kitchen strainers duct-taped to broomsticks, some drawings and pictures of the bugs they would find and several plastic containers; students scooped up a combination of reeds and weeds, water and mud and a couple of bugs.  It took only a few moments to recognize and match some of their catch to the identifying pictures Groat has shown them minutes earlier.  “Cool”, “Lemme see” or “Where did it go to?” were some of the appreciative comments made by the youngsters who checked out whatever each of them brought up from the pond’s shallow end.

Later, Groat said this was about the third year she’s led this type of class at the pond.  She added that another field trip takes students to the rear of Lamar Community College.  There, kids can follow a path on the west side of the pond and creek for views of the birds that flock to those wooded areas.  Students noticed a couple of ducks that had circled the pond, landed and took off again in anticipation of reclaiming the pond all to themselves.  About a quarter mile south on the patch, several mule deer also bided their time under a tree, waiting for the students to learn what they could and move back to their classrooms at Parkview.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: CitycommunityCountyEducationEntertainmentFeaturedLamarProwers CountyRecreationSchoolWeatherYouth


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.