by Rebecca Schumacher
On May 17, two chapters of Texas Master Naturalists, North Texas and Indian Trail chapters, combined to lead a field trip for sixty-three third graders from Mesquite ISD to Cedar Ridge Preserve in southwest Dallas. We had two certified master naturalists: Rebecca Schumacher and Rose Mercer, two master naturalist interns: Sarah Cornett and Nikki Miller, two members of the Dallas Audubon Society, four teachers, and several adult chaperones (and a partridge in a pear tree….!).
The kids were divided into four groups of roughly 15-16 each. Teachers and chaperones escorted kids to each of four activities focusing on the elements of habitat (food, water, shelter and space). Naturalists guided the activities that included nature journaling, a half-mile guided hike, an exploration of the Butterfly and Sensory Garden using Project WILD curriculum “Habitracks,” and hands-on exploration of the learning center’s natural artifacts and insect collection. Kids got to touch a scorpion (it was dead) and discuss human habitat needs with another Project WILD session called, “What’s that, Habitat?”
We all came back alive and the kids had a great time. All of the children left with a better understanding of the concept of habitat and the master naturalists all got at least five volunteer service hours for the effort!