On October 24th, Three Rivers Land Trust partnered with Garinger High School’s Outdoor Club through the Land Trust’s Leopold Society to host a “Conservation Day” on a conserved property.
The students, led by Aaron Silverman, history teacher at Garinger High School and leader of the Outdoor Club, met at a privately conserved property near Coddle Creek Reservoir in Concord, NC. Students began the morning by learning what a land trust is and why conserving land is important, especially when the land surrounds a critical watershed and provides important wildlife habitat.
Students then moved on to the “hands-on” portion of the day, beginning with the construction of wood duck boxes to be placed around the wetlands on the property. Wood ducks, once at risk of extinction due to market hunting, recovered in large part due to the placement of nesting boxes around suitable habitat. These nesting boxes mimic the hardwood cavities that hens will lay their eggs in, typically in wooded swamps and bottomlands.
Rich with wildlife, the wetlands ecosystem within the property provides habitat for a variety of animal species. Pelts from otter, beaver, and muskrats were available for the students to examine, all of which were trapped on the property. For many of the students, this was their first time observing these critters up close. After learning about the diversity of the wetlands ecosystem, students had the chance to win a prize if they spotted and correctly identified an animal.
The last part of the day, and perhaps the most fun, was spent constructing primitive fishing poles using bamboo from the property. The majority of students had never caught a fish before, so watching them light up as their bobber disappeared and then reel in their very first fish was the highlight of the day.
The goal of the Leopold Society is to instill a lifelong appreciation of the outdoors in our youth by enlightening them on the natural world and conservation issues. To learn more about how you can get your school involved in the Leopold Society, email Steely Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org.