|At weird and wonderful Fish Slough, the classroom comes alive. |
Fish Slough is a unique desert wetland with rare plants and fish, surrounded by fascinating geological features and archaeological sites - only a mile north of Bishop, our region's largest community. Together with the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education, the partners managing Fish Slough have created outdoor programs that introduce every 2nd grader and 4th grader in Bishop Elementary School to the wonders of Fish Slough.
Each program meets California curriculum objectives for that grade level. Presenters are biologists, botanists, geologists and archaeologists, along with volunteer docents.
Second graders divide their time between wading in the water to collect and sort aquatic invertebrates, and a discovery hike that follows a treasure hunt route to a wonderland of terrestrial features - and know all those big words by the end of the day.
Fourth graders explore ecology from the point of view of the tiny Owens pupfish, and the ecosystem relations and amazing desert adaptations of plants; relate rocks they can hold in their hands to the dramatic geologic forces that shaped the landscape around them; and sketch petroglyphs, feel the slickness of grinding stones, and learn the importance of preserving every clue to the story of the past. They even get to fling a six-foot dart with an atlatl!
Fish Slough is now a part of the Hands On the Land national network of field classrooms! See the site profiles at www.handsontheland.org