Peshtigo sixth graders transformed into four days at Camp Bird | New


PESHTIGO — Did you know that students in the Peshtigo School District have been participating in an outdoor education program at Camp Bird for 51 years?

Recently, sixth graders spent four days and three nights at Camp Bird on Sand Lake. Over four days, the students attended a number of outdoor education sessions and participated in several outdoor recreational games.

Many campers have developed friendships with classmates and experienced independence from their parents for the first time. Teacher Loretta Rich said, “Camp Bird is a transformational experience for the sixth grade students at Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center. “

The four days at the camp were filled with educational activities and experiences that opened up new worlds for the students.

“Camp Bird is important because it gives students many experiences that they normally wouldn’t have at school,” said teacher Lane Ludtke. He adds: “It was fun working with kids outside of my regular music lesson. I got to be with a student who caught his first fish.

Teacher Deena Trimberger adds: “I have heard many children say that they have never been camping or even staying in a hotel. It’s a great way for them to experience the outdoors and bond with their classmates. “

Anne Bartels of the Marinette County TOAD program (Teaching Outdoor Awareness and Discovery) taught three different classes during the camp. One of the classes taught students how to catch and identify invertebrate insects, shellfish and crustaceans in Sand Lake Creek. They also learned how these invertebrates are bioindicators of water quality.

Students also learned about astronomy during a nighttime stargazing session. Bartels showed the students Jupiter, Saturn, the International Space Station, the Milky Way, as well as a few meteors. It also showed the stars and constellations.

Students were able to see and touch 35 species of skins and skulls as part of a lesson on mammals called “Skins and Skulls”. Bartels taught students about the mammals of Wisconsin, including the local ideal habitat and diet. “Hands-on learning and environmental education programs have been shown to improve mental health and well-being,” Bartels said, adding that outdoor education has many benefits besides teaching skills. scientific concepts and appreciate nature.

“The classes are pretty cool. Almost every classroom is something that students would not be exposed to in a regular educational setting, ”explained teacher Jerome Hurley. Classes covered a wide variety of outdoor skills and activities. The students learned about water safety, canoeing and fishing. They also learned orienteering with a GPS device and learned to use compasses.

The students built birdhouses and took an arts and crafts class where they designed t-shirts. They also took part in an outdoor challenge course and a treasure hunt. All students were also given a variety of outdoor recreational activities to choose from. Students could play tetherball, ladder golf, bag toss, shuffleboard, table tennis or horseback. Another highlight of the camp was learning about wilderness survival, including lighting fires, purifying water, making shelters and preparing food.

Five high school students have been invited to help as camp counselors. Junior Ashely Hanneman said, “The first time I went to Camp Bird, in grade six, I loved it. I never wanted to go home.

Elder Morgan Nicklaus was the camp rescuer who had a similar feeling. “I loved Camp Bird in sixth grade so much that I made an album that I still have.” Hanneman helped the sixth graders with each of the lessons and activities and said, “We had to put on skits and songs to keep the campers entertained and we had a lot of fun! Nicklaus said: “I saw a dozen kids catch their first fish.” Hanneman said: “I would love to go back.”

Students learn to work together and take care of themselves independently. “The benefits of Camp Bird are overshadowed by all the activities,” said Hurley, adding that children don’t have their parents with them, so they have to take care of themselves and “learn to get along with others. students for 24 hours a day for four days in a row.

Teacher Justin Woulf also says that students benefit greatly from being away from home saying, “It’s a little bit of independence mixed with education. “

The feeling of closeness and friendship that the students learn during the camp has a great impact. “The students get to know each other better. They make new friendships and work together to accomplish new and challenging tasks, ”said Rich.

Woulf adds: “I like to see the sense of family that is built over the days.

Trimberger grew up attending a larger school system. “When I go to my husband’s class reunions, I find that the classes after Camp Bird just have a different connection to each other. They are closer and have better friendships than I ever grew up in a big school. I like the way the students all come together. We are truly becoming a family.

Without the help of local partners, the students of Peshtigo would not have had such a successful camp. They are: Jack Clark, Peshtigo Apparel, Lee’s Foods, Anne Bartels and Chuck Druckrey, both of the Marinette County Land Information Department.

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