Education


CVH Foundation Helps Students Track Critters’ Stories

Published: February 03, 2019 at 07:00 am

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Before the next Sunday at the Sanctuary event — which will be hosted by the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation at Reed Intermediate School on February 10 — Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary (CVHAS) educator and professional naturalist Henryk Teraszkiewicz will have worked with kindergarteners throughout the district, helping them learn about animals and the tracks they leave in winter landscapes.

He visited Middle Gate Elementary School on January 28. After working with the students to help them identify animals by their tracks, he also taught them how to read the “stories” left in those tracks, like if the animal hopped or ran. As a group, the class then created its own track story. Mr Teraszkiewicz said the students came up with what the animals would do in the story and they then decided how to show that story with the track prints, made with stamps on a large piece of white paper. The students learned about bounding foxes, sledding otters, hopping squirrels, and swooping owls. They learned about the cycle of life in the process, and Mr Teraszkiewicz said the program aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the kindergarten curriculum. Through the lesson, Mr Teraszkiewicz said, students also learn about kindness and compassion.

Students later created their own stories using stamps. As the students left the room, Mr Teraszkiewicz bid them goodbye and said he hopes they “find some track stories” on their own.

According to the CVHAS website, the next Sunday at the Sanctuary event will run from noon to 3 pm at Reed Intermediate School, 3 Trades Lane. A description for the event reads, “February is our Waking Winter Wildlife, where we focus on those animals that either do not hibernate or migrate, but were able to ‘brave the elements,’ which is actually just the fact that they are able to find food. We also focus on what is happening to those plants and animals at this time of year as they wind down their winter dormancy and begin to ramp up for spring — the harbingers, if you will. Skunk cabbage is chemically melting its way through ice and snow, creating natural “saunas” for early rising insects to shelter in. Woodpeckers and sapsuckers create sap flows in high sugar trees like maples, allowing for the emergence of our earliest butterfly, the Mourning Cloak. Winter songbirds have been active all winter and continue to scavenge for seed, while the chickadee with its seasonally enlarged brain lives off its hundreds of caches of seeds, much like a squirrel does. While we cannot always see all of this late winter activity, we will be learning how to ‘Read the Landscape’ for signs of winter wildlife like tracks, tree scratches, scat, and other markings.”

Activities at the Sunday at the Sanctuary event will include creating winter track ID books, creating track stories, and from 2 pm to 3 pm, a “signs of waking and active wildlife” hike will be held at the sanctuary. Hikers will use the iNaturalist app to record and identify findings, weather permitting, according to the event’s description. Representatives from Horizon Wings will also present “ambassador birds of prey,” and experts from the Beardsley Zoo and the Maritime Aquarium will present, “Frogwatch USA (aza.org/frogwatch), a Citizen Science initiative that monitors the waking amphibians by listening to their mating songs,” according to the event description. Information about the Great Backyard Bird Count (gbbc.birdcount.org) from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will also be shared.

More information about the February 10 Sunday at the Sanctuary event is available on the CVHAS website, cvhfoundation.org/event/sunday-sanctuary-winter-wakening.

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