One Small Step For Land; One Large Step For Students

One Small Step For Land; One Large Step For Students

HASLETT - Four classes of fifth graders from Murphy Elementary in Haslett gathered today at the Davis Foster Land Preserve for a day of learning, exploring and helping the environment.

“We’re hosting this event because we really believe in place-based education,” said Meridian Township’s Park Naturalist and Stewardship Coordinator Kelsey Dillon. “So, actually, instead of kids learning about it in a classroom, the kids learn about it in the classroom and then they get to come out and actually do it.”

The main feature of the preserve is the native grasslands and the students participated in four stations to engage with nature.

One station and the main attraction is making seed balls. The students made marble-sized balls out of soil with native seeds inside that they were then able to throw into an area of grassland that had been burned earlier this season. After getting enough moisture, the balls will break apart and native flowers will root themselves into the ground and continue to grow.

“Because we can get them out here, we have these beautiful restored ecosystems and it’s just a really great way to have the kids learn something and get outside and do it,” said Dillion.

And the seed balls were nothing shy of a hit for the kids.

“I liked the seed balls because we got to throw them,” said a group of fifth graders.

Other stations included active games, observing wildlife and the native plants on the preserve and prairie math and trying to figure out how much more soil the roots of a prairie holds compared to regular turf grass.

The students were accompanied by parents and their teachers to help them with their learning.

“We want the students to be stewards of the natural world always and to understand there are places for them to go, green spaces, and just that they have an appreciation for nature,” said fifth grade teachers Zsuzsanna Mahon.

This is the fourth year Murphy Elementary has participated in this outdoor activity.

Other schools and grades around the area also do similar activities at other land preservation areas around the township to gain hands on learning and an appreciation of nature.

“It’s just really just a great way to get kids out and they’re learning about nature and about these native ecosystems,” Dillon said.

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