TRUCKEE, Calif. - Third-grade students from Truckee Elementary School took their class work outdoors Friday, Oct. 5 to explore nature and learn about local history. This was their first field trip journey for the 2012-2013 school year. Mrs. Fansler and Mrs. Anderson's third-grade classes spent the day on Donner Summit hiking and learning about indigenous plants and how emigrants like the Donner Party crossed the Sierra.
"I liked learning about the trees, plants and animals that live on Donner Summit," said student Clara Castellar. "We saw a golden-mantled ground squirrel preparing for winter."
Teachers and parent volunteers led students on a 6-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and the Mt. Judah loop. The route also passed nearby historic Roller Pass, where early emigrants once pulled their wagon trains over the summit. Ahead of the group, Mrs. Anderson left educational notes on the trail side for students to find. The notes captured various topics including noting native species, wildlife, geology, and history.
The field trip complemented what Truckee Elementary students are learning during their weekly science lab exploration time. The new lab was created with funds from Measure A.
"In science lab we learned that if a tree is cut you can count the rings to see how old it is," recalled a student.
Students also prepared by reviewing local flora and fauna. "We identified trees and plants around school," said Mrs. Anderson.
"I'm really impressed with how well the students kept up and stayed on the trail. They did really, really well," said parent Lydia Carrillo.
"Place-learning opportunities like these directly support our Truckee Green School initiative," said PTO Co-President Alex Herrera. "We know that fostering a love for our natural environment is the first step in protecting it."
Learn more about Truckee Elementary Going Green at www.TruckeeGreenSchool.org.