By Zachary Rhine
News & Feature Editor
Pond, stream, reptiles and amphibians, energy, insects and arachnids- these words come together to form the embodiment of what Fourth Grade Environmental Days is all about.
For six days a school year, three in the fall and three in the spring, a small farm in Felton, PA is transformed into a place of learning and games for the fourth grade classes of the Red Lion school district.
The field trip involves high schoolers instructing fourth graders on how they can better their environment while at the same time preparing the kids for their impending standardized tests such as the PSSA’s.
On the last of the three spring days, field trip adviser and Red Lion Science teacher Ms. Heather Fogell invited Pennsylvania representative Stan Saylor to the day’s events. While Saylor himself could not make it, he had his office’s regional manager, Kevin Eck, attend the field trip.
“He said he was only going to be there for about an hour, but he ended up staying longer because he got so engrossed in everything that was happening,” Fogell said. “And I think that’s a testament to the students.”
Mrs. Martine Good-Ewell, Red Lion High School teacher and Every Day Earth Day club adviser, helped chaperone the trip for the first year this past March. Good-Ewell hopes to make the trip even better by incorporating more ideals about recycling and “going green” to the trip’s itinerary.
“I’m hoping we can show the kids, show everybody, that there’s small things we can do to help take care of the earth. That’s the goal,” Good-Ewell said.
When asked if budget cuts have affected the trip at all, Fogell replied, “The program has grown, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have it grow, but it is always under analysis by the district to see whether they should continue it or not; as any program should be.”
While this field trip is primarily self-funded, the school still pays for the busses to and from the farm in Felton, and also a portable restroom for the day.
Both Fogell and select high schoolers bring their own pets (reptiles and amphibians) to help demonstrate and bring the lessons to life for the kids.
The Fourth Grade Environmental Days field trip celebrated its thirtieth year this past March.