Nature Learning Center

Nature Learning Center

January 3, 2020 0 By Kody Olson


(children talking excitedly) – Hello, and welcome. My name is Ranger Sandy Ferreira. I work for the Environmental
Services Division with the City of Fremont,
and I’ve been teaching the Clean Water Program
for the last 13 years. You ready to go?
– [Students] Yes! – That’s what I wanna hear!
– [Ranger] Let’s go, okay. – Follow Ranger Alicia,
follow Ranger Laurie. I’ll be right with you guys. – My name is Ranger
Laurie and I work for the Environmental Services
Division here at Central Park. I teach the clean water
education programs and today, I’m going to talk to
you about our 2nd grade field trip program, which is called Garden Wonders, Critters and More. – Our garden programs’ emphasis is all about pollinators and about teaching about wildlife-friendly practices and what are the good
things that we can do to attract pollinators to our garden? When the students arrive, they
have a seat in the garden. They come in, they have a
seat in our outdoor classroom, and each student receives a booklet, a clipboard, and a pencil. We have the kids sit down,
let them take a few moments and take in all the sights
and the sounds of the garden because any given day, we could have butterflies flying above, we could have hummingbirds
flying on the feeders, we could have ducks flying over us, we can have Canada geese flying by us, so all this excitement is all around. – The emphasis of our program is animal and plant life cycles, specifically the life
cycles of some of the more familiar insects to them, such as Monarch butterflies and lady bugs. – I found another lady bug. I found another lady bug here. Oh, and another one there! – Try not to touch the leaves. – We start talking about
pollinators and life cycles. We give them a few key words to study. For example, host plants, nectar plants, toxic, pesticides, chemicals. We really want to emphasize those types of things in our garden. Students begin at our nectar garden here, by the native plants, and we first talk about
that particular plant. We have to quiz the kids. Can
you identify a nectar plant? – The nectar plant provides
nectar for our pollinators. That would be like our bees,
our butterflies, hummingbirds. These flowers are positioned in such a way that the Monarch butterfly
and any other butterfly can land on them very easily
and stick their tongue, or proboscis, into the tube
and suck out the nectar. – Then we move on through the garden. We stop at our water fountain,
and we talk about water, how important it is in our garden. – We talk to the children
about elements that make a great pollinator garden,
one of them being water, how you can add water to
your garden for the birds and insects to come
and drink and bathe in. – After that, we go to the
other side of the classroom and then we pull out the worm bin. That’s an exciting time for the kids. The kids are now being able to look at how do we compost and
why are we composting? Then we give all the
kids samples of worms, a little bit to hold in their hands. Some of the kids are squeamish, they don’t want a hold of the worms. – In our composting bin, every child gets to, if they want
to, have the opportunity to look at our compost,
look at the worm poop, and see how wonderful our
worms are working for us and how we use that
compost in our greenhouse to start our plants. After we’re done with this,
the children all get a chance to answer their questions in
their booklet on page 1 of what pollinators did they
see in the garden today, what was it doing, how our garden helps to support pollinators in
what ways, what is the rain barrel used for, and
counting the different insects that we have
on our milkweed plants. It’s really just a combination
of all their observations that they’ve done in the gardens
before we go into our lab. – At that point, we have the
kids sit down in the classroom. Each student is assigned a hand lens. We usually have a live organism. On this particular day,
we might be talking about lady bugs and lady bugs’ life cycles. – [Woman] That fold by it? – How many you think? Is it four legs or six legs?
– [Woman] So, how many spots? Write down your number of spots you have. You have nine, okay, good. – [Woman] Let’s go ahead
and show his lady bug. Wow, nice job. (children talking excitedly) – Monarch butterfly, and
I think this one’s a male because you kind of see
its sunspots right here. You see an enlarged area on its vein. This is the boy butterfly, the
females don’t have this vein. This one is a female. It doesn’t have the real thick
veins here or the sunspots. That kind of attracts the female. It gives off perfumes and
aromas and stuff like that, so the boy butterfly will give off those smells to attract the female. Then, at the end of the
program, its that time for the kids to earn
their Garden Heroes badge. We have the kids raise their right hand and recite the pledge,
and then they earn this really cool Garden Heroes badge. It says City of Fremont Garden
Hero with a lady bug on it, which is more or less our
model for our program. – [Woman] By planting
host and nectar plants – [Children] By planting
host and nectar plants – [Woman] I will encourage others – [Children] I will encourage others – [Woman] To do the same
– [Children] To do the same – [Woman] Ready?
– [Children] Ready? – [Woman] Be a bug watcher!
– [Children] Be a bug watcher! – [Woman] Congratulations,
give yourself a hand. You’ve all earned your Garden Hero badge. – Hi, I’m Deanna Stemm from
Brier Elementary School and I teach 2nd grade here in Fremont. This program here at the Nature Learning Center is wonderful. This is the second year
in a row that I’ve brought my students here, and one of
the reasons is the wildlife, even though it’s just
butterflies and birds, it’s things that my students do not typically see in their
houses or their apartments. – We can put rain barrels out there so they can easily get
water sources from nearby and we can also put a birdbath in to invite hummingbirds or other animals so they can drink off or just take a bath. – It just helped me learn
more so I could be a great scientist when I grow up. I really like this field trip. – [Deanna] What I like
best about the program is the excitement I see in my students’ eyes when they learn something new. Also, when I go home,
I think of things that I can do at the school or at my home to bring the pollinators into the area. – I really feel our clean
water education programs are so successful because
we provide those great learning opportunities and
hands-on activities for our kids. Kids love to be out in nature. We can see that when they hike through Stivers Lagoon Nature
Area, we can see that when they’re back here in the lab. By providing those learning opportunities, getting kids excited about
nature, we’ve got ’em hooked. They love, love, love our program. If you would like more
information about our program and you would like to
register for a field trip, you can contact the City of Fremont Environmental Services Division either on our website at www.fremont.gov or you can call our office directly at area code 510, 494-4570. (birds chirping)