School to Nature Program
Fall 2019 Program ** Volunteers Needed **
If you like 4th grade students, enjoy the outdoors, and want to be outside for a 2-1/2 hour field trip, then the School To Nature program is for you!
Fall 2019 School To Nature program dates:
Sept. 24 to 27
Oct. 1 to 4
We are looking for people to come out this fall to Trout Ponds/Prairie to lead or co-lead a group of five 4th grade students. We take the kids out for a nature hike to experience four habitats: the ponds, prairie, woods and river. The students have an equipment bucket with all the materials they need. We have 50 students for a total of eight days. The students come from Racine Unified and private schools in the area. We train you so that you know what to do and ask that you donate 1 - 2 days to the group. Volunteers usually pair up with an experienced leader until they comfortable leading their own group.
We make this a fun learning experience for both students and volunteers. If you’d learn more about our School to Nature program and sign up to volunteer, contact Jill Baranowski. Please know that we couldn't do this wonderful program without our volunteers. We appreciate your support!
Jill Baranowski - School To Nature Committee Chair
About School To Nature
We so appreciate the work our volunteers do and so do the students. It's a great opportunity for them to get out in nature and learn a little about what it takes to keep an ecosystem, such as the woods, alive and well.
As always, we try to keep the number of students in each volunteer's group to five students. All of our volunteers are given training and materials to conduct the field trips and are encouraged to team up with another more experienced volunteer until they feel comfortable taking a group on their own.
We are always looking for more adult volunteers who would be willing to help educate area students about nature. Our spring program at Tabor Woods is held in May and our fall program at the Trout Ponds/Prairie is usually done the end of September or beginning of October. Both programs are held during the daytime and are about 2-1/2 hours long. Specific dates and times are dependent on when the schools are able to come and varies from year to year. We ask that volunteers participate in a two-hour training and commit to leading at least 2 days of field trips. A volunteer must also be able to hike for at least 2 hours, enjoy nature and children.
Why School To Nature?
The Caledonia Conservancy started the School To Nature program in 2010 to expose students to the natural world offered on the Conservancy’s preserved land. It is a known fact that children do not get out into nature enough nor do they recognize the importance of how the natural outdoor classroom impacts their lives. The School To Nature program uses curriculum from the Wisconsin DNR “Project Learning Tree” and consists of two (spring and fall) field trips highlighting two of the Conservancy’s larger parcels of land. Another goal of the School To Nature program is to let our community know that the Caledonia Conservancy land is open to anyone who wants to come out and enjoy nature, hoping that the visiting students will let their families know about our preserved lands and where they are located.
In our spring program, 6th grade students from area schools are transported by bus to Tabor Woods, at 5131 Tabor Road off Highway 31, between 5 and 6 Mile Roads. The 2-1/2 hour nature class consists of looking at the impact a fallen log has on the land, including a worksheet entitled “Life in a Fallen Log” and a nature walk studying some of the trees and wildflowers found in Tabor Woods. While there, students are also given an opportunity to see our mobile nature display of several mounted birds, animal skeletons, hides and feathers from animals native to the surrounding areas. In the spring of 2015, we had students from McKinley Middle School, Gilmore Middle School, St. Rita’s Catholic School, Racine Christian School and a group of home schooled children come out to Tabor Woods to participate in our program. Over a 7 day period of time, we up to 350 students (50 students per day) visited our land along with teachers and chaperones.
The School To Nature fall program invites 4 th graders from area schools to come to the Trout Ponds/Prairie, at 4819 4 Mile Road located on the SW corner of Highway 31 and 4 Mile Road. While there, the students complete an activity sheet dealing with the habitats of the animals and plants that they will see as they move through the ponds, prairie, woods and river habitats. Visiting students also get to see our mobile nature display. Each of our volunteer leaders take a group of 5 students through the Trout Ponds/Prairie, stopping to study the plants and animals native to each habitat. We have up to 50 students and 10 adult volunteer leaders participate each of the 6 days this program is offered.
The School To Nature program has had over 3,250 students come out for our nature program since it began in 2010. There is no charge for the schools to participate in this program and even a portion of the bussing costs to bring the students out on the land are paid for through grants and donations. The many adult volunteers who participate, donate their time and resources to this wonderful program so area students can learn about the nature found in the “green spaces” that the Caledonia Conservancy maintains in the Village of Caledonia.
"Thanks for giving us those binoculars. We were lucky to have you as our leader. I hope you had a great time too."
"Thank you for taking your time to teach us about nature!"
"I had such a great time with you and the group on the field trip! It was nice how you were fun and laid back, plus you let us chew gum! I had lots of fun!"
"Dear Dave, Thank you for showing me the value of nature. I had a lot of fun and I might even go back. I also saw a toad for the first time and saw insects that I have never seen before."