Along the Natchez Trace

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Field Trip...

The schools here have cut back on classes that aren't required to graduate.  Really a shame because some of those classes are what makes school interesting and gives us a lifetime of pleasure.  Yesterday we had a group of middle school kids (6th, 7th and 8th grades)....  14 kids in all...  visit the Refuge for an Art Outing.  I talked with their teacher, Beth, and she told me that she teaches Gifted Children classes and also teaches art classes in the district.  She brought her Caribou Middle School kids to the refuge today...  
That's Betty, the president of the Aroostook NWR Friend's group.  She greeted the class and told them a little about the refuge.

The kids all brought their sketchbooks and had planned on a hike around the 1.2 mile trail that loops around the Visitor Center.  

This young man had a good idea....  he took a lot of photos of various plants and sights with the intention of drawing them later.

The main focal point was the Photo Blind and the ponds it overlooks.  All the kids checked out the blind.....  even with all the rain we have had one pond is quite low.  Maybe a beaver dam has broken or something like that.  I saw a few ducks but no beaver today.  I wonder how it looked to these kids....

The kids all found something they wanted to draw.  

I'm sure there was some socializing going on, but these kids were all so polite and actually rather quiet for young teenagers.  They all got busy with their project with their teacher overseeing them.  I walked back to the Visitor Center to relieve Betty, who had to leave for an appointment.

The kids came back to the VC after an hour on the trail.  
I asked if I could see some of their drawings.
This young lady showed me her drawing of a spruce branch.  They really didn't have time to do much detail work, but I had no trouble knowing what each drawing I looked at was...  a pine cone, the log jam in the pond, a wildflower....  

They had brought their lunch and after eating out on the back patio of the VC, they had about a half hour before their school bus would return to pick them up...
Their teacher told them to use that time to add detail to their drawings.
This girl was using colored pencils to enhance her drawing.  

The kids arrived just before 10:30 and their bus picked them up at 1:00.  They had time to go on a hike, enjoy the outdoors, do some artwork, have lunch, and wander around the VC exhibits and displays.  Some even visited the Nature Store.  We sell some rustic wooden pencils for $1.00 each, and their teacher bought each student a pencil....  quite generous of her and rather appropriate for an art class, huh?

Promptly at 1pm the bus arrived to take them back to school.
The school year ends here on Wednesday, so this was their last field trip.
While it wasn't at all like the tours I give to visitors, I really enjoyed this class and was glad they chose this refuge to visit.
I hope they enjoyed it as well.

That's All For Today!


  1. I have always wished I could draw the beauty I see in nature, but my biggest art talent seems to be stick figures. ;)

  2. There are a lot of very generous teachers out there. Those kinds of activities are fun for school kids. We never did any of those things. I went to all religious schools, grade school through high school and we only had basics, not even any sports in high school. Quite dreary. No music allowed either outside of approved religious music. I see my childhood as black and white and I hope children get colorful childhoods,bright living glorious color. Like visiting a wildlife refuge and art.

  3. What a great outing. So sad that school boards don't appreciate the vital importance of the non-requirements!

  4. Those youngsters seemed pretty intent on what they were doing. The youngest grand could be in that group--13 and going into 8th grade. She would have been all business.