Windham Middle School sixth grade students traveled to Hampton to Goodwin Conservation Center in the Goodwin State Forest for field trips, due to the efforts of the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association (CFPA) and a grant funded by The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut from the Janvrin Environmental Fund. The foundation has four priority areas: empower youth, promote basic needs and rights, preserve the environment and advance animal welfare. The 250 students in sixth grade at Windham Middle School attended one of three trips on October 3, 4 and 10.
The grant provides bus transportation and students received field notebooks. Teachers participating also received learning materials and online access to Project Learning Tree, a national program managed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to support outdoor learning among students that CFPA coordinates in Connecticut. The goal of the visit was to focus on habitat and observation/data collection skills. Students explored and studied the different habitats at Goodwin (forest, field, pond) and also enjoyed a short hike. Recognizing that many of these students may be new to outdoor exploration, Goodwin staff also included some “hiker education” for the students including how to be safe outdoors and how to read trail blazes.
As one of the state coordinators for the award winning national Project Learning Tree program, CFPA is positioned to engage students in their local forests while reinforcing classroom themes and current educational standards.
Another goal of the trip is to excite these students about visiting this conservation resource, only 10 miles from Willimantic, so that they might encourage their families to visit and learn more about the forest, ponds and wetlands that make up the Goodwin Conservation Center.
Photos courtesy of Connecticut Forest & Parks Association