An exciting partnership between the Saugerties Central School District and the Esopus Creek Conservancy (ECC), a nonprofit organization, has been in the works over the last several months and will soon culminate in a super-sized environmental classroom for elementary school students.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students and to have something like this so close,” says Tim Farley, principal at Riccardi Elementary School and district-wide science curriculum content specialist for Grades K-6.
District Elementary School teachers Amy Lawrence, Sue Lodge, Valerie Raleigh, Rachel Stein, and Hilarie Wiacek, worked over the summer months with Leanne Thornton and Deborah Day of the ECC Education Committee to create a third-grade science curriculum that includes environmental field trips to the Esopus Bend Nature Preserve. The 156-acre Preserve, owned by the ECC, is located within the village and town of Saugerties, less than a mile from the Hudson River.
After hiking the property last spring, the teachers developed lesson plans that include timelines, lab projects, and pre- and post-field trip activities – all tied to State Learning Standards. “I have never seen better curriculum writing,” Mr. Farley says. All third grade students in the District will be visiting the Preserve this fall and next spring on environmental field trips.
“The partnership with the schools has been wonderful – like magic,” says Susan Boliltzer, president of the Esopus Creek Conservancy. “Students will have a hands-on educational experience at the Preserve. They’ll see our newly enlarged meadow, woodland trails, and several different animal and bird habitats. Our stewardship group is building foot bridges over the streams and a boardwalk that will take students out into the wetlands. We’re so happy that we’re able to provide this wonderful slice of nature for the children and the community.”
For more information about the Esopus Creek Conservancy and the Esopus Bend Nature Preserve, please visit www.esopuscreekconservancy.org.