by Lindsay Strout – Wildlife Biology Teacher, Sanford High School
I want to give a huge thank you to Maine TREE for helping fund Sanford High Schools’ Wildlife Biology field trip to the Maine Wildlife Park. Twenty-four of my students got to see all the animals that we’ve been studying all year long. From huge bears, moose, and bobcats to beavers, raccoons, turtles & turkeys! My students had a wonderful time wandering through the park to see all the animals, and seeking shade under the evergreens for shade (as the deciduous trees don’t have their leaves just yet)! I know for a fact that some of my students have never seen a moose, coyote, or bear before; seeing my students’ faces when they saw those beautiful creatures in their habitats was purely amazing. As we walked through the park, my students had to answer questions relating to the animals we saw, and I had my students nature journal.
As we finish up this semester in Wildlife Biology, our last unit will be the “Tree Unit”. After attending the Forest of Maine Teachers’ Tour last summer, I was able to build up this new unit and teach my students about trees here in Maine, and from around the world. I teach them how to use the “Forest Trees of Maine” dichotomous key to identify trees on our school campus as well as around their houses. When my students leave this class, they are well versed in both trees and animals that are here in Maine!
After seeing my students light up at the park, I would love to get my students out more to see various aspects of Maine’s natural land, animals, and resources. I know this field trip was literally life-changing to some students, as I got an email following the field trip that night from Walker, my student, “Dear Mrs. Strout, I want to thank you for putting that field trip together for us, it was very thoughtful of you, you and your classes showed nature to me differently. Now I go out of my way to sit in nature for a good 20-30 minutes and appreciate it and the animals around me.”
Thank you again Maine TREE for funding this irreplaceable experience for my students.