What could make a kid this happy? An overnight field trip, i.e. you miss TWO days of school, you get to go hiking with 30 of your best friends AND you get to ride on the bus! Last week GRANDson Gavin and his 5th grade classroom got to go on a great trip to Ozark Natural Science Center in Madison County Arkansas. Remote, heavily wooded and nothing but nature as far as you can see...it's the perfect location to "enhance the understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the Ozark Natural Environment." The Center offers school and summer programs that focus on the importance of natural systems around us.
Mrs. Jefferson is ONE COOL TEACHER, with 23 years under her belt she can do anything...even an overnight trip with 30 kids!
Over a few hills, around a few curves and they were there. It was even better than Gavin was expecting!
There were cool exibits in the Education building...
Every year, over 3,800 students from public and private schools in northwest and central Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma experience the beauty of the Ozarks through school programs. They offer unique learning experiences taught by teacher-naturalists with lessons and activities that correlate with science learning standards set forth by the Arkansas Department of Education. The kids have a great time while learning all about biology, ecology, geology, and social studies!
First things first, they fed them all a great lunch before heading off on a 5 hour hike!
ONSC uses the 489 acre Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission Bear Hollow Natural Area with over 7 1/2 miles of trails, bluff shelters, rock outcroppings, glades, a historic farmhouse and cabin, and beautiful vistas to teach water quality and conservation along the crystal clear waters of Bear Hollow Creek. ONSC is also adjacent to the approximately 15,000 acre Arkansas Game and Fish Commission McIlroy-Madison County Wildlife Management Area. Summer programs includes forest and cave ecology while enjoying the beautiful waterfalls and creeks.
The hike was wasn't an easy one, up and down mountains and ravines, but all along the way there were treasures to be found...
...like deer scat!
..and bright green moss growing on boulders in the dead of winter.
Lichen on a tree branch...
Amazing vines and trees that should have died but didn't...
Mother Nature is amazing!
The best part, being with your friends and not in school!
It was a great opportunity for the kids to enjoy learning while hiking, examining aquatic insects and discussing water quality, exploring the forests of Bear Hollow looking for unique plants and animals or animal sign, and spending the evening enjoying music and some drama around a crackling campfire. If you'd like to come for a visit, contact
Ozark Natural Science Center for their list of programs.