Otsego Conservation District Hosts
8th grade natural resource day at
groen nature preserve
Sponsored by Don Sklarczyk of Sklarczyk Seed Farm, the Mary Kay Smith Sklarczyk Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation, and the Wheels to Woods transportation grant program, Otsego Conservation District hosted a fun and educational field trip at the Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve in Johannesburg for all Otsego County 8th grade students. Otsego Conservation District is thrilled to be able to provide this opportunity to students—what better way to connect with and learn about natural resources than from passionate professionals at a wonderful nature preserve!
Gaylord Middle School students learn about logging history from Matt Nowak
On Wednesday, September 20, about 215 8th graders from Gaylord Middle School and their chaperones spent the day at Groen Preserve learning about natural resources. On Thursday, September 21, 90 students from St. Mary Cathedral School, Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools, and Vanderbilt Area School attended. Students spent the entire day at the preserve, traveling by foot or wagon between 7 different stations on different natural resource topics.
Johannesburg-Lewiston Area School students analyze growth rings on "tree cookies" with Jacob Grochowski
This field trip would not be possible without the willingness of the professionals that spent two days at the preserve teaching students about their field of work. Vance Tawel of Sklarczyk Seed Farms presented on Agriculture, Emily Johnson and Eli Baker from Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, with help from Seth Lanning of American Bird Conservancy did the Water Quality station. Ryan Wysocki, Monica Caster, and Angel Domenech of USDA-NRCS taught students about Soil Erosion and Jacob Grochowski, District Forester for Cheboygan and Presque Isle Counties taught students about Forestry. Matt Nowak, Charlton Township Supervisor, brought his model of the Johannesburg Mill and presented on Logging History, while Ashton Bieri, Huron Pines AmeriCorps member at the Pigeon River Country State Forest, taught about wildlife. The final station was Oil and Gas, taught by EGLE Geologists Janet Smigielski and Mike Shelton, with help from Garrett Powell, Tariku Negassa, and Chris Redlon. Don Sklarczyk, Ben Sklarczyk, and Gary Tawel from Sklarczyk Seed Farm drove the wagons to shuttle students from station to station, while Roger Latuszek from the Groen Nature Preserve made sure the property was ready for this event. Libby Benjamin and Patricia Osburn from Otsego Conservation District coordinated the field trip, and want to give their sincere thanks to all of the presenters, volunteers, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, chaperones, and students for two great days at the preserve.
Ryan Wysocki shows Vanderbilt Area School students how to use a clinometer to measure slope
Vanderbilt Area School students on the wagon shuttle to their next station
St. Mary Cathedral School students identify macroinvertebrates at the Water Quality station with Eli Baker
Ashton Bieri shows furs from northern Michigan wildlife to St. Mary Cathedral School students