Last night, Cloverleaf teachers and students attended a class at the Fernbank Science Center called “Exploring Nature With Your Child.” Taught by veteran naturalist and ecologist Dr. Al Tate, the class focused on nature in and around the Atlanta area. The class is designed for parents /caregivers and children to learn together about animals, plants, and natural communities they find around their own home and neighborhood.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Dr. Tate and introduced to many other kids from the community. Part of the class assignment was to bring something from your backyard to share with the group. I don’t know about you, but speaking in front of a group is intimidating for me! Nevertheless, our kids did a great job explaining their items, introducing themselves appropriately, staying with the group, and politely taking turns. I was so proud!
Some items that were shared included an owl feather (found by Bryson), a flower not yet in bloom (found by Sammy) , a lamb’s ear plant leaf (found by Oscar), a bird’s nest with a “bad” egg, a baby rat snake, and much more. Dr. Tate is a true expert, giving out high interest information and making all kids feel proud of what they brought to share. He even got out the microscopes and allowed the kids to look at their treasures through the lens. Later in the evening, he had the kids to get messy and pull apart the birds nest, explaining more about how the nest was made and what the bird made her nest with. At the very end, he fed the baby snake tiny fish and explained more about how snakes move and breathe.
Outings like these really help our kids jump outside of their comfort zone and practice taught social skills in a real-life setting. I was so impressed by our students’ ability to interact with other children and use the tools and strategies that they have learned in the classroom. We can’t thank organizations like Fernbank Science Center enough for creating programs that allow our kids to feel a part of their community.
Exploring Nature With Your Child has been taught for 20 years and is one of the most popular public programs that the center has to offer. There is no pre-registration or cost involved. The community is simply invited to come with their children and enjoy learning about nature.
We were informed by Dr. Tate that Dekalb County’s Board of Education has proposed closing the Fernbank Science Center. We were shocked and saddened by this news. They are asking for our help to prevent this permanent loss. Here’s what you can do to help:
1. Write a letter to a board member. You can write a letter to:
Dr. Eugene Walker, Chairperson firstname.lastname@example.org -or-
Mrs. Nancy Jester, email@example.com
2. Attend a board meeting. May 30, 4:45 Budget Meeting or June 4 @4:45 for a regularly planned meeting.
4. You and your child can also attend one of these free classes and show your support. There will be more opportunities to experience this program throughout the summer on Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:30. Keep checking their website for more details and dates. We hope to see you there!