The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center in Laconia will be hosting two area elementary school classes this spring. Their education programs are aligned with science and social studies learning standards, providing students with a unique, hands-on learning experience outside of the classroom.
Nicole Hauswirth’s kindergarten class from Woodsville Elementary School will have the chance to take part in Prescott Farm’s “Wildlife Tracking” program this spring, which includes an introduction to animal tracking and a chance for hands-on tracking experience on Prescott Farm’s 160 acres of forest and fields on White Oaks Road in Laconia.
Their teacher, Nicole Hauswirth, explained, “our kindergarten classes will be learning about how animals survive in the winter. We will be learning about animals that hibernate or migrate, and animal adaptations. Students will learn about the homes animals make for themselves in order to help them survive the harsh winter weather and how they prepare for winter. Students will be examining animal tracks and learning how to identify which animals the tracks belong to. Additionally, students will learn how our actions can impact these animals and their populations.”
Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth has planned a trip to Prescott Farm in March for its first-, second- and third-graders to take part in the maple sugaring program, which is also open to the public every Saturday in March.
Students will learn about the parts of a tree, the history of maple sugaring, some local economics, and get to experience the process themselves.
Dawn Grant explained that this trip is meaningful to her students because “we are located in an area that is mostly pine forest. In February/March, we will be doing a unit on the parts of a tree and their functions, focusing on maple trees in New Hampshire. With our philosophy on a hands-on experiential approach to education, we would like our students to be able to witness and experience maples up close.”
Laconia and Mountain Village Charter School are two of the ten classrooms that were selected for the New Hampshire Environmental Educators (NHEE) grant program that helps with transportation funding for field trips:
[A] grant opportunity is being offered by New Hampshire Environmental Educators (NHEE), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for high-quality environmental education in New Hampshire. NHEE’s new field trip funding program “We NHEEd to Get Outside!” was designed to help educators around the state with transportation funding for field trips, as school and nonprofit budgets tighten up, to allow students to get outside.
According to nhee.org, the program was a huge success, with more than 20 schools and organizations from all over the state applying for funding to support field trips. NHEE funded 10 trips, which will provide close to 800 students with meaningful, experiential education opportunities in the outdoors, two of which are to Prescott Farm here in Laconia.”