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A Typical Day at the Conservancy

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Today I had an entertaining and interesting day at the Conservancy, with lots to see and do. After my first hike with the second graders, I had a slow group and got back after all the others had been assigned. But, that was good, because, I got to take pictures and record what naturalists do when we lead field trips. Today’s topic was “It’s Not Just Dirt”.

I checked out the students down at the soil pit. they were learning the layering of top soil. Seeing how things change as you go deeper into the soil.

They were also seeing the local “products” like black walnuts, that grow on trees in our region.

black walnuts

And, milkweed. A wondrous plant that attracts monarch butterflies. Our milkweed is splitting open and sending seeds over the land to hopefully land and create new plants in the future. We had students sending seeds aloft to float over the land to come to rest.


We took them to the Master Gardeners historic gardens to show them what good soil will do. Like the wonderful greens in the salad table.

And, we taught them why good soil is important, and why compost is black gold.

The second graders loved their day in the grasslands, following naturalists around learning about what helps their favorite plants grow. This second grade, from Dayton Oaks, knew all about what grows around them. When asked, they knew carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, beans and fruit. Smart, aren’t they? They really enjoyed learning about science in a fun place. And, loved saying hi to Ranger, the owl.

When they were all done, after hand washing from the well water, they got to go off for a picnic lunch.

While I was out there, I caught at least a half dozen bluebirds wandering around looking for insects. These four on the fence were watching the ones on the ground. Stalking them was a little difficult.

Fall at the Conservancy. What could be better?


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

2 responses »

  1. I chaperoned my fourth grader’s trip there last week. It was misty and cool, and the guide was so knowledgeable about the history of the property. I’ve been to the conservancy several times, so I love that I learned lots of new things about its history. I liked the hands-on activities they planned, too. The kids got to dig in the dirt, pet a snake, make themselves into a model of a food web, and see Ranger. Fabulous trip!

  2. I haven’t done the new activities with fourth graders yet. I concentrated on the kindergarten through second grade material this fall.

    As I get back into shape to hike and lead activities for two hours, I will add the older groups back into what I choose. This was my first time with the long trail since my surgery last winter.

    The little ones do a shorter loop around the farmhouse and barn, and don’t do the mile plus loop to the creek and back.

    I did OK since my legs are getting used to the hills, but doing three miles of hiking when we go out twice, is pretty good exercise while carrying a backpack full of activity items.

    I think the field trips that the education leader designs there, are just great experiences for the schools.


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