On May 7, 2019, Western Wayne High School general science students visited the Varden Conservation Area and participated in ecology activities presented by Lacawac Sanctuary.  Students participated in three different activities, which involved the topics of macroinvertebrates in a pond environment, topographic mapping, soil percolation, and pollution.

Lacawac Sanctuary instructors included Jamie Reeger, environmental educational manager, who presented the soil percolation studies and how they tied into the water table.   Devan George, environmental educator, explained water quality health through identification of macroinvertebrates found at the pond.  Bruce and Kathy Grandjean, environmental educators, explained topographic mapping and orienteering with compasses and maps of the area.

The field trip was followed by a classroom presentation on water quality and the environment.  Students participated in activities that modeled ground water and surface water and how they fit into a concept of a water shed.  These activities lead to discussions about the local area and incorporated the concept of a water table and common water resources shared by all.

Funding for the Varden classroom education as well the field trip was provided through an Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) grant from the nonprofit Western Wayne Education Foundation. Christine McClure, President, 1970C Easton Turnpike, Western Wayne School District, Lake Ariel, PA 18436

Accompanying the students were instructors Dr. Mark Nebzydoski and Mrs. Maria Phillips.

Western Wayne students enjoyed learning both on the trip to Varden and through the classroom presentations. Lacawac educators Reeger and Gene Schultz gave the classroom presentations at Western Wayne.

Freshman Donovan Burdick explained how he liked both experiences.

“It made it easier for me to learn the information because I liked working outside on the trip and the diagrams they showed in class were interesting.”

Fellow classmate Leah Kellogg agrees.

“The diagrams they showed in our classes helped us to learn the concepts so much more than just being told the information,” she said.

Reeger, who gave one of the presentations to the students at the high school, explained how it is their goal to help the students get a better understanding of our ecological systems.

“We hope to make the students better stewards of the environment,” Reeger said.

She also explained how there are so many more career paths available to students now involving the environment. She discussed how college students can study sustainability in business or industry among a variety of other environmental career paths.

Sophomore Riley Kennedy felt accomplished after her work on the field trip and with the classroom presenters.

“I learned how smaller things live in less contaminated water and how water runs off of certain environments,” Riley, who aspires to study medicine and be anesthesiologist one day, explained.

The students look forward to working with Lacawac for future educational trips and presentations