On a crisp February morning, I arrived at the Adirondak Loj to participate in the Marie L. Haberl Three Seasons at Heart Lake School Outreach Program.  Immediately upon arrival, I could feel the excitement in the air as fourth-graders were piling off the bus in anticipation of the day.

After Tom Manitta and Seth Jones helped the kids put on their snowshoes, a guided hike through the Heart Lake property revealed a fresh snow glinting through the trees and falling in a soft layer.   Seth took the opportunity to have the kids stop to analyze some animal tracks in the new snow.  Each student pulled out their Three Seasons Journal and studied the various pairs of tracks and learned which animals make them.  Seth asked the group if they could identify the tracks.  A brave soul raised his hand, ‘I think it’s a rabbit,’ he said.

From there, the students visited a lean-to on the property and studied snowflakes, learning that no two are alike.  After a snack, the group proceeded along a small bridge over the outlet from Heart Lake, to a small ski hill for a game of strategy called Predator and Prey.  The students had to follow a set track while avoiding the predator, everyone took turns being the predator.The day was rounded out by lunch in the Loj dining room, and writing haiku poetry time to encourage the kids to reflect on their experiences.

“It fits the curriculum nicely. A lot of what is learned in this program appears on the New York State Science Exam for Grade 4.” – 4th Grade Teacher

“Dear Friends at ADK Loj; Thank you for a wonderful day. I enjoyed exploring nature. My Favorite part was figuring out what animal left the track” -4th Grade Student

To learn more about this school outreach program contact: Outreach Coordinator, Tom Manitta.

Integrating New York State Education Standards with environmental education through science, language arts, physical education, the arts, math, and history is the way in which our school outreach programs make lasting connections between children and the natural world.

The primary goal of Marie L. Haberl School Outreach Program is to create significant life experiences, by designing programs centered on developing lifelong values about the nature of New York and motivating students to act to protect it. To facilitate these types of life experiences, we educate students during the three seasons of their academic year.

This program is comprised of three components. The first is a series of classroom presentations highlighting key concepts to introduce students to terms and techniques that will be used to study the seasonal changes. Their year-long journal serves as a workbook, connecting classroom and field components and providing additional activities and content. Finally, the students arrive at the Heart Lake Program Center for three days of adventure and learning throughout the school year.

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