The Second and Third Grade class arrived at the Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington on a bright, chilly morning in early October. We were greeted by an engaging and energetic nature expert named Monica. She had the children practice spotting field marks, the details on a bird that sets it apart, by showing them a stuffed bird, then hiding it. They named the details they could remember, then decided what kind of bird it was. She instructed us in how best to observe birds, and we practiced in a room with a wall of windows looking out on bird feeders. Each of the students was able to pick out a variety of bird species and name them.
The highlight of the trip for the students was the nature walk. Monica gave us instruction about how best to spot birds: move slowly, making as little noise as possible, use the sense of hearing to detect birds in the dense trees and bushes, and how to use the binoculars the Center supplied. Richardson Nature Center has numerous wooded trails and a large lake around which we were able to observe Canada Geese and ducks. However, Monica also encouraged the students to examine non-bird nature elements, and we learned about fungus, tree growth, kinds of leaves, and many other things.
The field trip to the Richardson Nature Center encouraged outdoor exploration and adventure, and we were able to use much of the knowledge gathered from our textbook on winged creatures as we encountered the natural world God gave us.