SUISUN CITY — The last of 27 sixth-grade classes visited the Suisun Marsh Monday to try on the roles of soil scientist, hydrologist, botanist and poet.
Almost 900 children participated in the Suisun Marsh Watershed Program this year, according to a press release from Marianne Butler, educational program manager for the Solano Resource Conservation District.
The educational event includes studying the soil, water and plants encountered on a hike. It ended with penning a poem to commemorate their experience. The poems will be submitted by teachers to the River of Words, an international art and poetry contest.
Children shared thoughts ranging from animals and plants they had never seen before to how they became more aware of how pollution, human development and non-native species affect animals.
One class saw two great horned owls and two barn owls in the Rush Ranch barn during its field trip, a program record. The 1,050-acre Rush Ranch property, owned by the Solano Land Trust, represents more than 10 percent of the remaining wetland area in California.
The Suisun Marsh Watershed Program was developed by the Solano and Suisun resource conservation districts five years ago. It is funded by the Solano County Water Agency.
Funding has been continued for another four years and provides leverage for a grant from the State Parks Habitat Conservation Fund Program, which will support bringing 70,000 Solano County schoolchildren on environmental education field trips over the next four years.
The Suisun Marsh Watershed Program is built on three in-classroom preparatory lessons, a five-hour trip to the marsh, a child-led poster session about endangered or threatened species in the marsh, and a final in-classroom lesson on marine debris.
Butler has managed the program from the beginning. One of her goals has been to expand it to reach as many middle schoolers as possible, according to the recently released press release.
Classroom lessons are taught by Martha Rocha with the Suisun Resource Conservation District.
For more information, call Butler at 301-5778.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.