A recent field trip to the Heart K Ranch in Genesee gave Indian Valley students a chance to learn about local history, ecology and land management while getting outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.
On Oct. 22, third- through sixth-graders from Plumas Charter School’s Greenville Learning Center visited the ranch property, which is owned by the Feather River Land Trust.
Guided by teachers Jennifer Van Acker and Lauren McIntyre, along with GLC Site Coordinator Andre Essue and PCS Outdoor Education Coordinator Courtney Gomola, students rotated through several stations to learn about the area through multiple perspectives.
Nils Lunder of the Feather River Land Trust discussed current land management goals and practices for the property, and Gomola pointed out the importance of riparian areas in meadows and forests. “We explored the different habitats that ecosystems including forests, meadows, and bodies of water provide for plant and animal life,” said McIntyre.
“We also discussed the importance of taking care of the land so that it can take care of our needs.”
Lorena Gorbet and John Moore of the Maidu Summit Consortium taught students how the Maidu took care of the land, and how they “used it to produce everything they needed for survival,” said McIntyre. “They netted the salmon at the base of Indian Falls and carried them up so they could spawn in Indian Valley.”
Students discussed how the Maidu used acorns. They also crushed acorns to find weevils, collected plant life to create bouquets and tried to catch lizards.
There were quiet moments too, said McIntyre, as students “observed the smallest bumblebee resting on a goldenrod flower, they had an opportunity to be still and observe the business of nature at work — something we often overlook.”
At the end of the day, each group performed a skit that incorporated what they had learned, said McIntyre. “It was creative, silly improv that engaged students in scientific vocabulary.”
McIntyre said this kind of trip is vital for students. “It is important for Indian Valley kids to get outside and learn about local history because it provides them with a rich opportunity to use all of their senses and their imagination, and explore their innovative side. All of my students agreed that learning is best when they can see, touch, taste, smell, listen, observe and be actively engaged in what they are learning.”
To learn more about Feather River Land Trust and the Heart K Ranch, visit frlt.org. For more information about Plumas Charter School, visit plumascharterschool.org.
Ingrid Burke is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School.