Grade Nines at Golden Ranches

As part of one of their school projects, 37 grade nine students and their teachers from Florence Hallock School bussed out to Golden Ranches to spend a day helping to improve wildlife habitat. EALT is so thankful to have had the students’ help putting up owl nest boxes as well as mapping and removing one species of invasive plant, common tansy, from this natural area!

The students split into three groups each lead by our EALT summer team members to cover as much area as possible. Each group had a designated individual to make sure there were no bird nests among the weeds before clipping, a few students using GPS units to get coordinates of each patch of tansy, others recording the coordinates on a data collection sheet, and some students with clippers to remove the tansy.

One group got the opportunity to put up a nest box for owls or kestrels before heading off to help with the weed survey! The nest box was placed facing south on a live tree around 12 to 15 feet off of the ground. To read more about the importance of nest boxes or for blueprints on how to make your own nest box, click here.

Throughout the day, the grade nines got the chance to explore different areas within the 1400 acre Golden Ranches Conservation Lands while conducting their weed survey and made some very cool nature discoveries!

The students found a small songbird nest hidden among the tansy. Good thing there was someone to check for nests before cutting away the weeds! This patch of tansy was not removed; it was left to shelter the nest. Students also found numerous animal bones hidden in the tall grass, wondering what the story behind them might have been.

During lunch break, students wandered over to a nearby wetland, and to their surprise, found an adorable little friend hiding in the branches. Porcupines are mainly nocturnal, which is why it was found resting in the trees during the daytime. What a neat find!

One of the three groups of students walked through a stand of birch trees and saw a ton of beautiful northern starflowers. These small, white flowers prefer shaded areas and moist wooded areas, which is exactly where they were found!

It was a beautiful and sunny day at Golden Ranches and also a very productive one! The data that the students collected will be used to create a map of invasive species on the Golden Ranches Conservation Lands.

Thank you so much Florence Hallock Grade Nines! The summer team had a great time and we hope you did too. You were an awesome group and we are so happy we got to spend the day with you all improving this natural area.