On a beautiful late September day, Stillwater Elementary School’s 5th grade class got the opportunity to take a field trip and learn firsthand about their local waterways. The trip was designed by Chris Dunbar, the Foodshed Alliance’s Paulins Kill Watershed Coordinator, and Anne Lupoch, both of whom are retired teachers. The pair were joined by volunteers Rusty Brown and Angela Tsinski, two science teachers at Sparta High School; David De Witt, another retired teacher; Ned Sheehy, a professor from Sussex County Community College; Brian Cramer, an environmental engineer; and Blanca Chevrestt, Superintendent of Swartswood Lake and various other local state lands.
These dedicated local naturalists guided students and chaperones on a fun-filled day adventuring and learning about all the different influences on our local watershed. The journey began at the top of Sunrise Mountain in Branchville, down through the Hyper Humus wetland restoration in Newton, and on to Swartswood Lake State Park – the last stop just minutes from the students’ school.
At each location, students got the opportunity to see different stages in the watershed and learn from their expert hosts about how our daily actions can have great impacts on our waterways. They gained insight into each location’s diverse ecology and their importance in the waters’ journey, including all of the plants and animals that rely on these essential environments for survival.
The trip was designed to give students a greater sense of place and engage them in caring about their environment with the goal of stewardship throughout their lives. According to the school’s Principal, Marissa Cramer, the trip has received rave reviews from both students and teachers – and they sincerely hope that all 5th graders in the Paulins Kill Watershed can have the opportunity to share in this important knowledge!
If you are interested in organizing a Paulins Kill Watershed Field Trip for your school (or group of any age) please contact Chris Dunbar, Paulins Kill Watershed Coordinator for the Foodshed Alliance at ChrisDunbar@FoodshedAlliance.org.