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Students team with Kids on Campus to teach Trimble students about ecology

Lessons could spark students' interest in science

Students from the Ohio University Environmental Studies and Environmental and Plant Biology graduate programs teamed up with Kids on Campus last week to teach Trimble Elementary School students the importance of ecology.

"One of the best ways to get kids excited about the environment is through hands-on activities," said Kimberly Daniel, site coordinator for the Trimble Kids on Campus afterschool program. "The kids also benefit from learning about the environment from graduate students. It gives them a chance to see people passionate about science."

Each day of the ecology primer taught third and fourth graders a different ecologically themed lesson.

Tuesday's lesson focused on the interconnectedness of forest plants and animals by creating a "web of life."

On Wednesday the students studied the parts of a tree and gave a presentation on five local tree species. They then created their own tree by simulating the function of the various parts of a tree.

The focus on Thursday was dendrochronology or the aging of trees by counting rings. Here, the students bundled up in their winter gear and went outside to watch tree cores being bored. The kids were then able to mount the cores and record data just like a scientist. There was also a taste test pitting pecans, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts, almonds and pinenuts against one another to see which
nut was the students' favorite (cashews won while pinenuts were firmly in last place).
"Working with Kids on Campus is a great opportunity for us to get involved in the community,” said Nathan Daniel, an Environmental Studies student who helped set up the program along with his wife Kimberly. "We had a great time teaching the kids at Trimble. You could tell they were interested and that was very rewarding."
And it looks like those rewards may continue for both the elementary and graduate students.
"Kids on Campus has partnered with the Environmental and Plant Biology Department in the past," Kimberly Daniel said. "We are happy to continue this partnership and expand it with the Environmental Studies program. You can never tell what impact
something like this might have on a student. Who knows, this might help create the next generation of scientists."