Exploring Close to Home Part 1
On September 4th, 2018, 25 students from Mr. Caslin’s 5th grade class had an introduction to the Arizona Trail and a short hike from school to the urban trail near their school. We learned about trail courtesy and Leave No Trace practices that are expected on our SOS outings and had a chance to practice on our short hike from school.
While out hiking we looked at some local plants that the students might be able to identify and learned to identify poison ivy which is unfortunately VERY abundant along the urban trail in this area due to moisture content in the washes the trail follows. Learning to identify and avoid irritating plants is an important skill and one few people know these days as fewer and fewer children (and adults!) spend their free time roaming outdoors with friends and siblings.
Along the way the children were serenaded by a scolding Abert Squirrel who apparently saw our presence as something to be most annoyed about! The students were fascinated and most reported that they had never heard a squirrel’s noise before our hike!
The group was so enthusiastic about implementing the LNT practices that several of the youth began filling their pockets with trash found on the trail to dispose of back at school.
Even a short time outdoors creates big impacts on young minds. Time outside matters. Connection to place matters. This is what education looks like.