Citizens for Conservation has again teamed with Barrington Community Unit School District 220 to provide prairie field trips for all fourth graders in the district.
The students engage in hands-on science experiences while learning the importance of the preservation and restoration of rare prairie ecosystems. The activities are all part of the District’s fourth grade science curriculum. Students measure and record native plant sizes and, back in the classroom, can compare them to previous classes’ measurements, dating back to 2009 when the program began.
They use their observation skills and draw their choice of prairie plants in increasing degrees of detail. They spend time in the field collecting seeds of native plants—usually taller than the students—that will be shared in prairie restoration work in the greater Barrington area. They participate in discovery walks, delighting in finding interesting birds, bugs and insects along the way.
This year the program involved 657 fourth graders, twenty different Citizens for Conservation field leaders and volunteers, and about 130 parent chaperones over a two week period.
CFC volunteers visited every fourth grade class in the district to prepare the citizen scientists for the field trips to a local preserve, either CFC’s award-winning Grigsby Prairie, Flint Creek Savanna or Spring Creek Prairie.“Our District 220 involvement is exciting because it is an integral part of the science curriculum,” said Sam Oliver, CFC staff director.