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Burchfield third-graders visit ranch; Boat ride proves to be ‘everone's favorite,' group leader says
For the ninth year in a row, third-grade classes from Burchfield Primary School visited a ranch southwest of Arbuckle.
The 85 third-graders took part in an Ecology Day that featured fishing, measuring earthworms, studying watershed features, using microscopes, taking paddle boat rides and even eating dirt.
Of course, it was not actually dirt. It was a chocolate pudding and crumbled Oreo concoction that included some gummy worms. The mixture was, however, used as an instructional tool for teaching the third-graders about soil composition.
The activity was one of many in which teachers, along with volunteers from the community and Colusa High School juniors and seniors, mixed learning and fun into the field trip for the third-graders.
A total of 31 seniors and three juniors served as group leaders as members of the Environmental Science Academy at Colusa High School. They helped instruct a the third-graders as they rotated through five learning stations.
According to Colusa High School Ecology teacher Craig Richards, one of the Environmental Science Academy's goals is "providing vocational exposure to the high school students and showing them what teaching is about." The high school students certainly got a dose of that, spending nearly six hours with the third graders as their instructional group leaders.
"We also do a lot of community service," Richards said in regards to the academy, "About 30 percent of the class is community service."
At one station, volunteers offered up their own 4-wheel-drive vehicles to take third-graders to a vantage point where they could observe the geographic features of the watershed, such as stream erosions, valleys and hillsides.
One of the most popular stations with the third-graders on Friday was the Pond Seeker station, where students took a up-close look at the water and cruised around pond on a paddle boat.
"My group's favorite was the boat ride," said senior Gabi Garcia. "That was everyone's favorite."
Another favorite of the young trip-goers was the fishing station.
"For a lot of these kids, this is their first time fishing," explained Richards.
"I think my bobber is moving," one first-time fisherwoman said as the third-graders' bobber skimmed across the pond. Seconds later, the girl reeled her line in and Richards helped her pull a hefty largemouth bass out of the water.
"That's one of the bigger fish that have been pulled out of here in over the years," remarked one volunteer as the girl posed for a picture with her fish.
When all was said and done, Richards deemed this year's event a success.
"I think it was one of the more successful years. I think the high school kids did a great job this year. Everything I've heard from teacher and parents has been positive."