The spring field trip to Salter Grove has become an annual event for the science program at St. Peter School. This year the new science teacher, Annie Graham, organized and led field trips for the second and fifth grades. On the morning of May 18, she was joined by the second grade teacher Nancy Dunlap and parents Jonathan Alvarez, Mike Jarvis (FoSG member), and Alicia Oldzewski to guide 25 students through 5 ecosystems. The trip for 25 fifth-graders, who came as fourth-graders in 2017, was in the afternoon of May 21 and included the fifth-grade teacher Christina Desmairis and parent Dawn Jarvis.
Both groups of students applied concepts they had learned in class about ecosystems to what they saw at the park. They identified the different growth forms that plants can assume for maximizing light capture for photosynthesis. They correctly applied the terms abiotic and biotic factors in comparing and contrasting the different sites at Salter Grove. They saw and reflected on the impact of lawn fertilizer on the growth of aquatic plants. They also compared how differing amounts of fresh water entering the cove can impact the abundance of coastal plants and animals.
Mrs. Graham is already planning another field trip to coincide with the Earth Science unit of her curriculum. It could be in late winter or early spring to sample the different bodies of water at Salter Grove, and would focus on the chemical and physical rather than biological factors. She has been working with Marina Wong, the FoSG Education Outreach leader towards providing structured and integrated field trips for all the grades at St. Peter School.
Besides being such a beautiful spot, Salter Grove is proving to be an excellent outdoor laboratory for school children to get a real understanding of what they have learned in their science class.