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Miracle in the Meadow

By: jduncan

Ojai Meadows Preserve

OMP chief reflection resized

"The Ojai Meadows Preserve, on Hwy 33 immediately north of Nordhoff High School, has become a pristine example of what an ecologic restoration project can be. With support from the Ojai community, it has transformed from a degraded property to a thriving natural wetlands wildlife habitat in just a few short years."

Words from the Ojai Land Conservancy, Ojai, California,2013.

     This is our next door neighbor and the students of Meiners Oaks Elementary are surrounded by this meadow's beauty and activity. With this natural curiosity the students have the opportunity to learn about this natural preserve. Our student leadership team wanted to lead students in activities that would enhance their knowledge, learning, and ultimately stewardship of this meadow. Five girls formed a team to put together bird watching kits, field guides, and other supplies for students when they hike into the natural setting.

[image] field guides

It took a month to take inventory of the kits that were already assembled last year. They added bird watching charts, pencils, color bird pictures, field guide activities, and binoculars. We only had 10 binoculars, and made a total of 23 kits. Kits with the numbers 1-10 had the binoculars, 11-23 had all supplies except the binoculars. These kits were for the students who had their own binoculars from home. They put enough for three students in each kit. With these supplies the students were now ready to schedule cross-age groups during PE time, and to have the kits on a check-out system.

     The students led an assembly to share their ideas, kits, and tips. They did a skit about students who wanted to hike during PE and they spotted birds with their binoculars, and identified the bird on their chart. They had water bottles and stressed how important it was to hydrate. The audience enjoyed this skit, and the song, "We Can Change the World", by Disney Friends for Change. They passed out lyric sheets, and the song was a powerful message for enjoying our habitat neighbor.

[image] assembly skit

     After the assembly the students did a presentation at a Teacher Staff Meeting. They explained their idea about hiking and doing a series of activities during PE time. They needed support of the staff and willingness of the teachers to accompany them on these excursions. The staff loved this presentation and especially liked the idea of cross-age peer groups. They offered to teach and care for their little buddies in the Meadows and this gesture was very touching to their teachers.

     With the cooperation of the Physical Education Teacher, and Classroom Teachers, the students were able to begin their hikes, adventures, exercise, and exploration. Permission slips were signed in advance, and students knew to bring water, sunscreen, hats, etc. on these days. The group will look forward to hikes with their younger aged peers, and showing them a natural wildlife habitat next door.

[image] girls with poster

   The meadow hikes were very successful! The students loved this alternative to their PE time and really enjoyed the hike in nature. We found that the more we went on hikes with our buddies, the more the students were successful and engaged in the activities. If also helped to have a schedule for the month on the days they were assigned to hike with another class. All came prepared on their hiking day with proper shoes, and water. We are going to begin this fun activity at the beginning of the school year in Fall 2013.

    [image] last leadership photo

 

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Comments (4)

You're reviewing: Miracle in the Meadow
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jojo81883383
jojo81883383 says...
I love the meadow walksGrin
3rd June 2013 10:50pm
juliaa
juliaa says...
so glad that we have our school right next to the meadows!Grin
28th May 2013 10:29pm
juliaa
juliaa says...
i love being in this group! it has been so much fun!!!! good luck to all of the classes!
28th May 2013 10:28pm
dozer1
dozer1 says...
I love walking in the meadows?Huh
28th May 2013 3:53pm
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