Middle school science shifts focus outdoors

More than 300 students from Enumclaw’s two middle schools recently spent three days learning about the outdoors and human impacts on the environment.

The sixth-graders studied marine ecosystems, sea creatures, sustainability and forest ecology Oct. 10-14 at YMCA Camp Seymour on the Key Peninsula. Students attended from both Thunder Mountain Middle School and Enumclaw Middle School as part of the camp’s Outdoor Environmental Education program.

Among other educational opportunities, students handled living sea organisms and reptiles.

Student Morgan Hall said interacting with the animals “is so much cooler than just seeing pictures.”

After handling live reptiles and marine organisms, Holden Bergquist gained new perspective: “I’m not going to capture grasshoppers anymore because it must hurt them a lot. I’ve never thought what the animals might be feeling before.”

The 154 students from Thunder Mountain and the 155 students from EMS were accompanied by volunteer chaperones and teachers.

Thunder Mountain teacher Mark Hanson – accompanied by Dan Rogel, Seth Polson, Kamele Kimball, Jodi Granger and Kristine Couch – took his students to Camp Seymour to emphasize community and to learn in a natural setting.

“We love coming to Camp Seymour each year because camp is such an amazing experience for our students,” he said. “They learn so much about natural science and make lasting friendships that help build our Thunder Mountain community.”

Enumclaw Middle School teacher Will Stuenkel took his students to Camp Seymour to emphasize science education and to work toward coming together as a class.

“At camp, they gain a tremendous hands-on science education and a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “Kids make new friends, gain confidence in themselves and learn about the natural world all around them.”

“Hands-on experiential education meets students’ needs on so many levels,” said Becca and Scott Gjertson, Outdoor Environmental Education directors. “Kids need opportunities to be and learn outside.”

Camp Seymour occupies 180 acres and a half-mile of shoreline near Gig Harbor.


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