A Day of Environmental
Stewardship in the Woods

Hands-on learning for middle-level students at The Children's School

While The Children's School has always sponsored frequent field trips to the woods for all classrooms, the weekly Friday trips started during the Covid 19 pandemic. The weekly woods experience proved so valuable, parents, teachers, and students alike asked for it to be made a permanent feature of the school curriculum.

In addition to their Fridays in the woods, our middle-level students enjoy an even deeper level of immersion in their woods experience: 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade students from The Children's School learn forest stewardship skills at Bemis Woods, a beautiful and expansive jewel in the Cook County forest preserve system.

 

The experience opens countless doors for learning and fosters a deep sense of connection and responsibility for the woods they've enjoyed for so many years.

Stewardship begins by learning about the impact of invasive plant species...

Invasive Plant SpeciesMr. Hudson, TCS Middle Level Science Teacher
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Buckthorn

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Honeysuckle

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"When I first started learning about the extent that invasive plants like buckthorn and honeysuckle had taken root in our forest preserves, I was skeptical that much could be done to mitigate their impact. They were everywhere!" says Mr. WIll Hudson, middle level science teacher at The Children's School and coordinator of the woods stewardship program.

"However, over the years, I've come to see that sustained and focused stewardship DOES make a difference. I have observed significant changes to the landscape, including the rejuvenation and proliferation of woodland ephemeral wildflowers and young oak trees."

By returning season by season, students see first-hand how their work to remove invasive species gradually unveils more native spring flowers...
 

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By engaging them in forest stewardship, we move students beyond thinking of our forest preserves as a fun place to hang out and play, another commodity to be consumed and discarded. They instead start to see the woods as a community that we are a member of, and a place where gifts are received, shared, and given in return.