To the Editor:
I would like to extend my thanks to Old Hammondtown School Science Teacher Laura Mirabito and Old Hammondtown School principal Matt D’Andrea for working with us to make the sixth-grade field trip to Nasketucket State Park a success. Additionally, I would to thank the Mattapoisett Land Trust for funding the buses and MLT president Gary Johnson in particular for helping to shepherd kids from one location to the next. Finally, I’d like to thank consultants Phil Benjamin and Brian Butler for agreeing to share their considerable expertise with three classes of Old Hammondtown School science students.
Phil Benjamin, a well-known local forester, gave the students a tour of the upland forest types found at the park, and discussed some of the threats they face including pathogens and invasive insects. Brian Butler of Oxbow Associates introduced the students to our rocky intertidal shoreline and talked about problems with some invasive species of crabs and seaweeds. I was able to introduce the students to a vernal pool and encouraged them to look more closely at this important ecosystem. The kids pulled up salamander larvae, tadpoles, insects, several green frogs, and we noticed a couple of small snakes that had come to the pool to grab an amphibian snack.
This trip was one part of a two-part program with the sixth-grade science classes at Old Hammondtown School. The first half was conducted earlier this spring in Ms. Mirabito’s classroom during which Gary Johnson and myself presented a brief introduction to what we would be seeing in the field.
During the field trip the students were excited and engaged with the subject matter, and one boy exclaimed “now this is how to learn science!” We were lucky enough to finally have a beautiful sunny day for the event, and I know the students will remember their trip for a long time to come. These trips had been an annual event up until a few years ago, and I for one am very excited to see them be resurrected.
Mattapoisett Conservation Agent
Mattapoisett Land Trust
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