Horizon Elementary Students Learn About Neighboring Wetland


Kathy Vue talks with students at Horizon Elementary about the pacific tree frog that lives in their local wetland. Story by Kathy Vue.

One by one, 25 kindergarteners sat down crisscross on the sidewalk under the front awning of Horizon Elementary School. No more than 50 yards away, Earth Corps Volunteers helped 4th and 5th graders fire-line buckets of mulch from the parking lot to the wetland entrance in the back yard of the local elementary school.

In mid-October, MBS partnered with Horizon Elementary and Earth Corps for the second time this year to teach K-6 graders about the importance of restoration and how small contributions can make a big difference. MBS’s Aleta Eng and AmeriCorps’ Volunteer Kathy Vue taught K-2 graders about how wetlands provide food and shelter to many different animals and how wetlands are the kidneys of an ecosystem, filtering water for bacteria and keeping streams clean.

Students were most interested in pinning cutouts of little brown bats, mosquitoes, and tree frogs where they thought they lived in the trees, grass or water on a picture depicting a wetland. They were delighted to discover that bats help control the insect population by eating up to 6,000 bugs a night.

Students recognized the ribbiting call of a Pacific Tree Frog, but most didn’t know that the wetland right by their school was home to the creature that has been found in the corner of the staff restroom. Aleta showed a picture of a jumping frog and emphasized how frogs used their entire legs to jump, right down to their toes. Students practiced jumping, pretending to be hungry frogs and sticking out their tongues to catch imaginary fat flies.

After 341 students learned about conserving water, throwing away trash, and teaching friends about wetlands, they left in a single line and took turns touching the raccoon and skunk pelt before yelling a big “thank you,” and returning to class.

The MBS Youth and Community Engagement Program expose different components of the Forest Service to youth and communities. For questions contact Kathy Vue 425-783-6096.

Story and photos by Kathy Vue.