Edison At McNary
Edison First Graders Explore the McNary Wildlife Refuge As Edison first graders excitedly clamored off the school bus they squealed, “Look! Look! Look at the footprints!” Many students bent down to touch the variety of animal tracks stamped into the path around the McNary Wildlife Refuge in Burbank, WA. Refuge volunteers split students into exploratory groups, which rotated throughout the day. Students were excited to find out they would be learning about animal tracks, vertebrates, mud critters, refuge vegetation, as well as birds, nests, and feathers. In the animal tracks group, Jenny, a US Fish and Wildlife educator, animatedly used sock puppets to represent animal tracks along the pavement surrounding the center. Students were delighted to discover the differences between dog and cat tracks and animal tracks native to the area. In the vertebrate lessons, students learned about vertebrates and explored the refuge Educational Center, where they looked at bird skeletons and eggs, snake skins, and taxidermy animals. At the mud critters station, a frog-hatted Shannon implored students to dig into buckets of mud and search for bugs to view through a variety of microscopes. Next to the mud critters station, was the refuge vegetation station. There, students made leaf rubbings, viewed plants through microscopes, and explored native plants. During the final hands-on learning activity of the day, Erin passed around feathers, nests, barn owl wings, and eggs for students to touch as they learned about birds, nests, and feathers. With the understanding of basic bird anatomy in mind, Erin led students to the “Bird Blind,” where they used binoculars to view native birds nesting on the water. Students also had the opportunity to hike along the “Birding Spur,” where they looked and listened for animals hiding among the foliage.