Dear Teacher, The Wakarusa Wetland Learners fieldtrips are back!

Fall 2008

The WWL project was initiated in Spring 2006 by Jayhawk Audubon Society and implemented in partnership with Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance, its new primary sponsor. Its purpose is to engage 6th grade students in activities designed to increase their awareness, appreciation, knowledge and understanding of natural environments—beginning with wetlands—and to increase their interest in conservation and preservation. Through activities involving scientific investigation, creative self-expression, and learning about the ecological value and historical context of wetlands, students are encouraged to develop a lifelong, mutually-beneficial relationship with Earth’s ecosystems and the organisms living in them. Trips focus on the area of the Wakarusa wetlands located on the south side of 31st Street, just south and east of Broken Arrow Park. To make the Wakarusa Wetland Learners project as easy as possible for teachers and students to participate in, we provide busing, facilitators* for activities in the wetlands, coordination of the activities for each trip, and some support for teachers in preparing and following up with students—including a special website at www.wetlandlearners.org. All sixth grade classes are invited to take advantage of this opportunity by scheduling a trip for Fall 2008 or Spring 2009. The biggest change this year is with the funding that helped us launch the program. The Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance has taken the lead on continuing to provide the field trips. However, we are entirely bootstrapping to cover project expenses – mostly coordinating volunteers, teacher and intern support, materials and travel expenses. Jayhawk Audubon has made available about $2,250 to help with wetland field trips. Cans for Community has contributed $500 for the 08/09 Wetland Learners project. Finally, a wonderful anonymous donor has contributed $2,000. We still need to come up with about $5,000 over the course of the next 9 months to make this project happen. To help us bridge this gap we’re asking participating schools to contribute $125. . KVHA/SL and project volunteers determine the activities to be offered according to which facilitators are available on the day of a trip. Although we can try to accommodate some preference of activities by individual schools, the focus is as follows for each trip. A minimum of 2 activities will be science-oriented, 2 will focus on the value of the ecology, geology or history of the Wakarusa wetlands, and the remaining 1 will involve writing poetry about nature, creating drawings or paintings of the natural setting, dramatizing interpretations of wetlands life, learning environmentally themed songs, or other experiences intended to increase students’ sense of connection to and appreciation for natural environments. Even if a school has multiple classes involved, we will usually schedule only 5 activities because of limited time available at the wetlands and the goal of every student experiencing every activity for which the class has been prepared. Only one trip per week is pre-scheduled, assigned by KVHA/SL on a “first come, first served” basis. Please see http://wetlandlearners.org for the most up to current listing of available dates. A link to the Registration Form is also on the website. KVHA/SL will assign each group an inclement weather backup date and time. Providing rain dates results in a great deal of added complexity for scheduling facilitators. We’re limited by who is available on the day of the rescheduled trip.

Continued

All trips for 2008-9 will be scheduled for the afternoon. In order for students to be at the wetlands long enough for successful field activities, each school must arrive immediately after lunch. Having a picnic lunch across the street in Broken Arrow Park makes getting to the wetlands on time much easier. Arrival on time is crucial in order to complete all activities before the buses have to leave. Laidlaw bus company’s return time is relatively early in the afternoon, resulting in a very tight schedule. Many schools preferred morning trips in 2007-8, but new constraints on those coordinating the trips will make morning trips difficult if not impossible. When ordering buses, teachers must write on the order form to bill Jayhawk Audubon Society. JAS has set up this approach with Laidlaw. A limit of 1 bus per school is required unless the need for an additional bus is cleared through Alison Reber ahead of time. If there are too many students for one bus, we would appreciate the overflow being taken to the wetlands by other means. This will allow us to have funds available for covering at least 1 bus for all schools wanting to go. Please remember, when ordering a bus you must note on the order form to bill Jayhawk Audubon Society. Any request for more than 1 bus must be cleared ahead of time in order for both buses to be paid for by JAS. Students will rotate through 5 activities led by facilitators scheduled and oriented by KVHA. Each activity requires approximately 20 minutes for learners to have a worthwhile experience. In addition, we will need 5 minutes for each of the following: orientation, wrap-up, rotation between each round of activities, and walking to and from the bus. This totals 2 hours and 25 minutes. Allowing for even minor variations in the schedule means classes need to schedule 2 ½ hours in the wetlands from arrival to departure. (See Field Trip Rotation Schedule) Due to the nature (An unintended pun!) of these trips, we require 1 school-provided chaperone for every group of 1-7 students, and 2 chaperones for every group of 8 or more students. This proved beneficial in previous trips because of the field setting. When groups have 8 or more members, we often have 2 facilitators per activity, so they can share facilitation responsibilities or break the groups into 2 smaller groups, each with a facilitator and chaperone. The role of facilitators is to engage students in activities, not to supervise them. Chaperones must be able to remove students who are causing disruption of an activity or endangering other students or adults in any way. Therefore, any size group (even 1-7) containing 1 or more students who tend to have difficulty behaving appropriately in an outdoor environment and may need to be removed, must have 2 chaperones so one can remain with the group at all times. These requirements are to insure a safe, orderly, and activity-focused learning environment for all involved. We appreciate your support in this. We hope you will choose to take advantage of this opportunity for all sixth grade students at your school. Please don’t hesitate to call any of us with questions, suggestions or concerns. We look forward to sharing a trip to the Wakarusa wetlands with you and your students.

Sincerely, Alison Reber alison@streamlink.org or cell 785-218-5106 Coordinator 2008-9, Executive Director, Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance/StreamLink Sandy Sanders sandysanders@sunflower.com or 841-4807 Coordinator 2006-8, Jayhawk Audubon Society Education Committee

Basic Wetland Learner Teacher Responsibilities

Complete Field Trip Registration (See letter regarding booking a date) Request bus (See letter regarding need for more than 1 bus.) Letter to parents o Include information from “Helpful Hints & Suggestions” o Goal of trip o Parent permission forms (See attached required permission form) Recruit Chaperones o Adult-student ratio 1-7 maximum, 2 required for groups of 8 or more Divide students into 5 groups (A, B, C, D, E) o Decide groups before arriving at wetlands. o Chaperones need their group’s field trip schedule. Prepare students for wetland experience. (See “Helpful Hints & Suggestions”) Complete and return Student and Teacher Reflection forms

• •

• •

Teacher Heads-Up
Stuff we know you know but you might have forgotten…..

We’re going to be outside. There are no walls, no carpets, no ceilings. There’s no running water, no bathrooms, and no trash cans. There will be rough terrain, standing water, tall plants, and wild animals.

Plan accordingly. accordingly.
Don’t hesitate to call Alison or Sandy if you have ANY questions or concerns. Alison 785-218-5106; Sandy 841-4807

State Standards, Local Curriculum + Support for Academic Benefits
Please contact Anne Hawks, Science Specialist for USD 497, to discuss specific ties to district or state science standards or ways these trips can support environmental science learning objectives. Sixth grade standards have environmental education objectives.

Activities may include any of the following (or others), depending on what facilitators are available that day. We plan to get to you a list of the activities scheduled for your trip in time for you to prepare your class. The final determinant of activities for any trip is the facilitators that are available. Many of these activities require very specialized knowledge or skills, and our goal is to provide well-qualified facilitators. Water chemistry Macro invertebrate identification/assessment Micro invertebrate identification/assessment Vertebrate identification/assessment Habitat assessment Vegetation identification/assessment Geo-hydrology Stream walk survey Watershed evaluation Birds Insects Seasons/climate Value of wetlands Geological history of area Value of protected lands for public enjoyment Creative writing or poetry Art Music or songs Drama Other – open to suggestions

*Facilitators will be scientists, naturalists, artists, musicians, poets or others with knowledge and skills enabling them to conduct successful environmentally focused activities in a wetlands environment. PS: If you know of facilitators to recommend, please let us know. Thank you.

Wetland Learners Helpful Hints & Suggestions
We have compiled just a few guidelines we think will help you and your students enjoy your visit to the Wakarusa wetland area. Prelude Concepts We try to meld the trips with your curriculum needs. However, it’s really helpful for students to consider these concepts before they get to the wetland area. • • • • • • Where’s the Wakarusa River? What’s a wetland? What happens to water after it rains? Why do plants and animals need water? What is an ecosystem? How do systems change over time?

What to wear, what to wear….. Here are a few suggestions to make your field experience safe and comfortable: • Comfortable but stout shoes that cover your toes and can get wet or muddy. • Shorts are cooler but long pants provide good protection from the tall grass, brush, and poison ivy you may encounter. • Wear a t-shirt or long-sleeved cotton shirt to protect yourself from the sun and tall vegetation. • If it’s cold, wear a jacket. • Apply sunscreen and insect repellant before you get on the bus to go to the wetlands. Time is usually limited once the trip begins. Last minute rules and reminders Just a few things to remind students before they head out: • Stay together in groups. Don’t wander off by yourself. • Use quiet voices and listening ears. • Do not get in the water unless instructed to do so. • Be aware of what’s around you: poison ivy, stinging insects, venomous snakes, thorny trees, slippery rocks, unstable banks, traffic, etc… Avoid putting yourself and others in danger. • Be respectful of yourself, each other, the instructors, and the environment. We need to leave the wetland as we found it. • Do not drink the water from the stream or eat plants growing on the banks. Bring bottled water to avoid dehydration. • Check for ticks and wash exposed skin when you get back to school. • Have a great time! It’s one of the few times you can get dirty and not get in trouble for it!

Don’t hesitate to call Alison or Sandy if you have ANY questions or concerns. Alison 785-218-5106; Sandy 841-4807

(Teachers, please either use the permission request below or add it as worded to the permission you require from parents/guardians of your students. Please either retain permission slips at your school or give to us to retain for the 2008-9 year. Thank you.)

Wakarusa Wetland Learners Fieldtrip Permission Form
__________________________ is a child for whom I have legal responsibility and has my permission to participate in the Wakarusa Wetlands Learners field trip. I agree to hold Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance/StreamLink, Jayhawk Audubon Society, USD 497, individual facilitators, coordinators, teachers, chaperones and others assisting with these trips harmless in the event of accidents, injuries or other traumas involving my child or other participants.

Note: Photographs may be taken and published by teachers, chaperones, facilitators, organizations (such as Jayhawk Audubon Society or Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance), or media sources such as the Lawrence Journal World. Our intention is to avoid identifying individual children and use any published photos for public relations, documentation of fieldtrips for grant funding, or other non-commercial purposes.

__________________________________ Parent or Guardian

_______________________ Date

GROUP A

• • • • •

Field Trip Rotation Schedule

Arrive at Wetlands – 31st Street entrance
Unload buses, walk to concrete bridge, and prepare to listen to orientation (5 minutes)

Welcome and orientation (5 minutes)
Introductions – coordinators, facilitators, school, teachers Brief overview of where stations are located & rotation system Explanation of signals for changing activities (whistle 2x for 1 minute warning, 3x for end of activity) Reminder of appropriate behavior in the wetlands—avoid disruptive or loud behaviors; walk at all times; leave flowers, sticks, etc. where they are; keep shoes on at all times; stay out of water unless parent, teacher and facilitator give permission to step in; take out all trash; tune in to natural world. We are visitors.

1st Rotation (3-5 minutes) 1st Station/Activity (20 minutes) 2nd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 2nd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 3rd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 3rd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 4th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 4th Station/Activity (20 minutes) 5th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 5th Station/Activity (20 minutes)

A B C D E

Everyone return to concrete bridge ‘meeting’ site – 3-5 minutes Wrap-up – 5 minutes
• •

Reinforce importance of natural environments Encourage students to bring families to the Wakarusa wetland Answer questions, thanks for coming & group picture

Walk to the bus & load up – 5 minutes

GROUP B

• • • •

Field Trip Rotation Schedule

Arrive at Wetlands – 31st Street entrance
unload buses, walk to concrete bridge, and prepare to listen to orientation (5 minutes)

Welcome and orientation (5 minutes)
Introductions – coordinators, facilitators, school, teachers Brief overview of where stations are located & rotation system Explanation of signals for changing activities (2x for 1 minute warning, 3x for end of activity) Reminder of appropriate behavior in the wetlands—avoid disruptive or loud behaviors; walk at all times; leave flowers, sticks, etc. where they are; keep shoes on at all times; stay out of water unless parent, teacher and facilitator give permission to step in; take out all trash; tune in to natural world. We are visitors.

1st Rotation (3-5 minutes) 1st Station/Activity (20 minutes) 2nd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 2nd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 3rd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 3rd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 4th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 4th Station/Activity (20 minutes) 5th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 5th Station/Activity (20 minutes)

B C D E A

Everyone return to concrete bridge ‘meeting’ site – 3-5 minutes Wrap-up – 5 minutes
• •

Reinforce importance of natural environments Encourage students to bring families to the Wakarusa wetland Answer questions, thanks for coming & group picture

Walk to the bus & load up – 5 minutes

GROUP C

• • • •

Field Trip Rotation Schedule

Arrive at Wetlands – 31st Street entrance
unload buses, walk to concrete bridge, and prepare to listen to orientation (5 minutes)

Welcome and orientation (5 minutes)
Introductions – coordinators, facilitators, school, teachers Brief overview of where stations are located & rotation system Explanation of signals for changing activities (2x for 1 minute warning, 3x for end of activity) Reminder of appropriate behavior in the wetlands—avoid disruptive or loud behaviors; walk at all times; leave flowers, sticks, etc. where they are; keep shoes on at all times; stay out of water unless parent, teacher and facilitator give permission to step in; take out all trash; tune in to natural world. We are visitors.

1st Rotation (3-5 minutes) 1st Station/Activity (20 minutes) 2nd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 2nd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 3rd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 3rd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 4th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 4th Station/Activity (20 minutes) 5th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 5th Station/Activity (20 minutes)

C D E A B

Everyone return to concrete bridge ‘meeting’ site – 3-5 minutes Wrap-up – 5 minutes
• •

Reinforce importance of natural environments Encourage students to bring families to the Wakarusa wetland Answer questions, thanks for coming & group picture

Walk to the bus & load up – 5 minutes

GROUP D

• • • •

Field Trip Rotation Schedule

Arrive at Wetlands – 31st Street entrance
unload buses, walk to concrete bridge, and prepare to listen to orientation (5 minutes)

Welcome and orientation (5 minutes)
Introductions – coordinators, facilitators, school, teachers Brief overview of where stations are located & rotation system Explanation of signals for changing activities (2x for 1 minute warning, 3x for end of activity) Reminder of appropriate behavior in the wetlands—avoid disruptive or loud behaviors; walk at all times; leave flowers, sticks, etc. where they are; keep shoes on at all times; stay out of water unless parent, teacher and facilitator give permission to step in; take out all trash; tune in to natural world. We are visitors.

1st Rotation (3-5 minutes) 1st Station/Activity (20 minutes) 2nd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 2nd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 3rd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 3rd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 4th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 4th Station/Activity (20 minutes) 5th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 5th Station/Activity (20 minutes)

D E A B C

Everyone return to concrete bridge ‘meeting’ site – 3-5 minutes Wrap-up – 5 minutes
• •

Reinforce importance of natural environments Encourage students to bring families to the Wakarusa wetland Answer questions, thanks for coming & group picture

Walk to the bus & load up – 5 minutes

GROUP E

• • • •

Field Trip Rotation Schedule

Arrive at Wetlands – 31st Street entrance
unload buses, walk to concrete bridge, and prepare to listen to orientation (5 minutes)

Welcome and orientation (5 minutes)
Introductions – coordinators, facilitators, school, teachers Brief overview of where stations are located & rotation system Explanation of signals for changing activities (2x for 1 minute warning, 3x for end of activity) Reminder of appropriate behavior in the wetlands—avoid disruptive or loud behaviors; walk at all times; leave flowers, sticks, etc. where they are; keep shoes on at all times; stay out of water unless parent, teacher and facilitator give permission to step in; take out all trash; tune in to natural world. We are visitors.

1st Rotation (3-5 minutes) 1st Station/Activity (20 minutes) 2nd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 2nd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 3rd Rotation (3-5 minutes) 3rd Station/Activity (20 minutes) 4th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 4th Station/Activity (20 minutes) 5th Rotation (3-5 minutes) 5th Station/Activity (20 minutes)

E A B C D

Everyone return to concrete bridge ‘meeting’ site – 3-5 minutes Wrap-up – 5 minutes
• •

Reinforce importance of natural environments Encourage students to bring families to the Wakarusa wetland Answer questions, thanks for coming & group picture

Walk to the bus & load up – 5 minutes

Student Reflections on Wetlands Activities
Name__________________________________________ Date_____________
Note to teachers using this form: 1) Blank spaces are for names of particular activities your class participated in at the wetlands. Feel free to change questions or alter form in whatever way you think will gain more useful information. 2) Using these questions is not required, but we would appreciate seeing whatever form of feedback you use as pre- or postevaluations of student knowledge. This helps us in planning future activities and documenting activities for grant funding purposes. Thank you.

Please share the following information about each activity.

Station on__________________________________-:
What did you learn?

How might you use this knowledge?

What else would you like to know?

Station on__________________________________-:
What did you learn?

How might you use this knowledge?

What else would you like to know?

Station on__________________________________-:
What did you learn?

How might you use this knowledge?

What else would you like to know?

Continued

Station on__________________________________-:
What did you learn?

How might you use this knowledge?

What else would you like to know?

Station on__________________________________-:
What did you learn?

How might you use this knowledge?

What else would you like to know?

Please also share with us: What other activities would you like to do in a wetlands environment?

What was especially enjoyable for you about today's time in the Wakarusa wetlands?

What suggestions do you have for improving the activities or the trip to the wetlands?

What other natural environments would you like to learn about?

What are you doing, or would you be willing to do, to protect Earth’s natural environments and the animals and plants who live there?

SSanders 2007

Teacher Reflections on Wetlands Activities
Teacher’s/Chaperone’s Name___________________________________Date_____________
Please share with us any or all of the following information about your trip to the wetlands.

What did you learn? (Related to any aspect of this fieldtrip.)

How might you use this knowledge?

What else would you like to know?

What suggestions do you have for improving today’s activities?

What other activities would you like to have available in a wetlands environment?

What aspect(s) of this trip was especially enjoyable or worthwhile for you?

What suggestions do you have for ways we could make taking your students on environmental education fieldtrips easier, more worthwhile, etc.?

What other natural environments in Douglas County would you like your students to learn about?

Other suggestions not mentioned above?

If you know anyone (scientist, naturalist, artist, writer, musician, story-teller, etc.) whose skills would lend themselves to connecting kids with nature, please let us know.

Thanks for participating in this opportunity, sponsored by the Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance/StreamLink.
SSanders 2007

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