This week, we have flipped the script on our traditional field trips. Typically, we would be seeing fifth graders on field trips, 20160329_142148looking at bugs, walking the trail and learning. We also would see some college students out here building trails and clearing brush.  Not this week. Yesterday, a group of students from OTC’s Richwood Valley Campus in Ozark came up to kick rocks, look at macroinvertebrates, and learn about clean water. They were every bit as excited and enthralled with each new discovery in the kicknet as any elementary school kid ever was. Today, we had about sixty-five students from Field fifth grade at the Watershed Center, but they were not here for any ordinary field trip. No, these kids came to work! For about two and a half hours, we cut, pulled, dragged and piled honeysuckle in the woods. The students marked their labor by the number of plants removed. So far the total is well over 1,000 plants. Statewide, there is a goal for Science Teachers to knock out 1 million of these invasive plants with their students. You can track the progress here! https://scienceteachersofmissouri.wildapricot.org/Honeysuckle

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As I watched these kids romp in the woods, free from worry or too much structure, I saw the magic of a child connecting with nature. They had big smiles and bigger scratches and the contentment on their faces as they quietly ate lunch was a stark contrast to the caged energy of most munching fifth graders. I was also struck by the fact that these days are short for me. As many of you know, I am moving to Columbia this spring and leaving my cherished position as Watershed Center Coordinator. I am relishing every moment at the Watershed Center with my incredible co-workers and the massive-yet-cozy community of nature lovers that I work with. I can’t begin to express gratitude for the group of people I have fallen in with over the past four years. However, seasons change, water moves downstream, and new ideas can rejuvenate a mission. I am so excited to see who fills this position when I go and I look forward to the opportunity to work with them. I can’t wait to see what someone else does with this amazing, open, potential-filled job.

 

I will be around for a few more weeks to work through some of our spring field trips and train my replacement. I look forward to the time I will get to spend with each of you in the coming days.

Thanks.

 

Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator … for now

 

P.S.

 

Enjoy some of these awesome comments from the students at Field Elementary about the workday today.

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–        I think the field trip was fun! I loved that we helped out and took action! My group cut down 165 honeysuckle plants. And my group found a new way of cutting them down, instead of using the clippers we used rocks to hit the root and it was so much faster!

    Thank you for letting us help out! It was a blast!!!!!

 

–        I thought we made a lot of progress clearing out the honeysuckle. Just our class pulled more than 500! It was also very fun to be out there pulling honeysuckle and helping the environment! Overall, it was a VERY good and fun field trip!!!   

 

–        I thought that our action field trip was amazing.  My favorite part was when some groups got together and we cut down so many honeysuckles.  I think that we should do more action field trips to spread awareness about what is happening.

 

–         It was really fun for me and I liked how we took action. I liked how we also got to go out and do this. To be honest it was fun and awesome to do this. we should do this another time one day.

 

–        I thought it was so much fun and also my group probably pulled out 300 or more invasive honeysuckles. I liked this field trip also cause it was an outdoor field trip and it was so much fun. Also I liked this field trip because it was an action field trip and I loved that we helped an ton with this project to help Missouri!

This was an AWESOME field trip you should do it next year if they have something like this!

  

–         I thought it was really fun going and cutting the invasive honeysuckles! They were every where! We cut down a bunch of them that were really big and hard to get out! I thought it was really cool that we got to participate in this project. I never really knew that there were invasive honeysuckles. It turns out they are every where at the water shed! In the end we added up the total of honeysuckles our class cut and we cut 1,650! That is a lot of honeysuckles. I think our class did  a great job!!

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