Posts Tagged With: Project Budburst

Mark Your Calendars: Community Field Day is May 31

undefinedAllendale’s Third Annual Allendale Community Field Day offers both community beautification and learning experiences for a fun, action-packed family day on May 31.

Spearheaded by Allendale Middle School science teacher Keith Piccard and GVSU Professor Peter Riemersma, the day seeks to harness the “power of many volunteers” to build an outdoor learning space that can be utilized by APS teachers, the community and young scientists everywhere.

Believing that valuable educational opportunities await outside the traditional classroom, especially in the sciences, both Piccard and Riemersma excitedly await a morning of community interaction that will pave the way for that completed outdoor space. Once gardens are tended and water tested, their hope is that these outdoor learning spaces will be continually improved and promoted for more frequent use throughout the school year.

As for the day’s agenda, participating families will be invited to join in these events prior to gobbling up a free lunch:

  • Stream Flow Measurement Wiers and Duck Race: weirs will be constructed and installed in the Sevey Drain running through campus so that participants can measure water velocity. Using this information, along with the distance to the finish line, families will make duck race predictions before racing their own yellow duck.
  • Minnow Traps: Local boy scouts will be on hand to help participants create minnow traps and learn how to use them. Minnow traps play an important role in estimating local fish populations.
  • Project Budburst Garden maintenance: volunteers are invited to play a critical role in maintaining the garden work that was completed in the previous two Community Days. A key part of this venture will be simplifying and streamlining the tasks needed to maintain those areas.
  • Many other fun, educational activitieslike a nature scavenger hunt, walking tours of school gardens and previous projects, water evaluation under digital microscopes, looking at aquatic macroinvertebrates, and water conductivity and turbidity.

For information about how you can get involved, please contact Peter Riemersma (riemersp@gvsu.edu) or Keith Piccard (piccarke@gvsu.edu).

Hope to see you Saturday morning, May 31!

 

Categories: Allendale Public Schools, Community News | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Butterflies and Bats Invade Allendale Public Schools

Nothing heralds spring quite like the flutter of butterfly wings in the daytime and the rhythmic beating of bats’ wings at dusk. They remind us that buds and blossoms and new life are parading back into our landscapes and bringing warmer weather with them.

backyard butterflies, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale Community Field Day

But aside from the beauty of butterflies and the oddity of bats, each of these creatures serves an important purpose in our ecosystem, and we are excited to share those roles with our students in a series of learning experiences planned for this upcoming week.

In preparation for next week Saturday’s Second Annual Allendale Community Field Day, we are honored to welcome Ms. Holli Ward of Michigan Butterflies LLC to Allendale on Thursday, May 9 from 11:30 until the end of the school day. Ms. Ward will be visiting our Springview and Evergreen Elementary Schools to teach students about butterfly larvae, eggs, general life cycle details, migration patterns of Monarchs, food requirements, and more.

Ms. Ward’s visit will take place in the school’s gymnasium and will allow her time to interact with all of our elementary students — that’s over 800 kids! Stations will be set up to offer an interactive and hands-on experience for everyone.

Mr. Peter Riemersma, co-founder of the Allendale Community Field Day with Mr. Piccard of Allendale Middle School, is overseeing much of the planning for the event and was able to secure grant monies to cover the cost of Ms. Ward’s visit. He hopes to inspire APS students to join our field day after working with butterflies and learning about the important role they play in our ecosystem. (Further details about the 2nd Annual Field Day will be published next week Tuesday).

Bat Conservation, Allendale Public Schools

Allendale Intermediate students will also have the opportunity to learn about winged creatures on May 13 during two assemblies put on by Bats of the World.  During these assemblies, fourth and fifth graders will explore the importance of bats, their habitats, thoughts on conservation, and will investigate some of the adaptations bats possess to help them navigate their nocturnal lifestyle. Students will additionally enjoy meeting an African fruit bat, a Jamaican leaf-nosed bat, and a local insect-eating bat.

Mr. Riemersma and Mr. Piccard express their gratitude to the Allendale Elementary School PTO whose support covered the majority of the expense of this visit. They hope that students will be eager to help install bat houses during the community field day on May 18!

Please check back next week for details about our Community Field Day!

[click here for this week’s photo credit}

Categories: Allendale Elementary Schools, Community News | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Allendale Community Field Day This Saturday

This Saturday the grounds of Allendale Middle School will come alive with students, parents, and community members joining our efforts to launch the nationally run “Project Budburst” on our very own campus.

Shovels will be slicing the earth and carving out new places for native plants, trees, and flowers that will help our students learn about the different stages of plant “phenology” (studying the natural cycles of plant life as they relate to climate). After students make observations together, their findings will be entered into a database for scientific study across the country!

If this sounds exciting, YOU CAN HELP!

This Saturday from 10 am – noon you are invited to join in our First Community Field Day as we begin a “garden” space that will be used for years to come!

  • NO SHOVELS NEEDED! We will provide all the tools you’ll need!
  • PLANTS WILL BE WAITING AT SCHOOL! In an effort to plant only native species, we will provide all the foliage to plant.
  • MEET IN THE EAST PARKING LOT AT AMS: Look for the crowd!
  • NOT A GREENTHUMB? NO PROBLEM! We’ll be here to help!
  • WEAR DIRT-FRIENDLY CLOTHES!  Leave your new stilettos at home!

In exchange for your efforts, Dr. Riemersma and Mr. Piccard will be providing a FREE LUNCH to all who are willing to roll up their sleeves and help!

Saturday will be a day of planting more than trees: we’ll be planting the future…together. Join us!

~ ~ ~

If you have questions or would like to help by sponsoring some of the activities of Saturday’s Community Field Day,

please contact Dr. Riemersma or Mr. Piccard for details.

[Dr. Peter Reimersma]: riemersp@gvsu.edu   |   [Mr. Piccard]: piccarke@gvsu.edu


If you missed last week’s feature article on Project Budburst, you can read more about the program HERE.

Categories: Community News, News You Can Use, Special Projects at APS | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Allendale Middle School Collaborates with GVSU on Project Budburst

Dr. Peter Riemersma & Mr. Keith Piccard

When Dr. Peter Riemersma, Geology professor at Grand Valley State University, first approached a group of Allendale teachers last summer about the idea of creating specialized gardens for student use on the APS campus, they were all ears.

The idea? Why not plant Michigan-specific species on the Allendale K-8 campus so that teachers have a nearby location to do research and take science “field trips”?

The teachers embraced the possibility of being able to study plants, trees, and shrubs up close and help to record data about plant phenology into the Project BudBurst National database. Project BudBurst relies on the observations of thousands of school groups, hikers, gardeners, senior citizens and others who wish to contribute to the climate change conversation and its effect on plants. We are pleased to join the ranks!

It also operates on the premise that regular observations recorded in field journals will be added to the database and analyzed by scientists looking for trends. Dr. Riemersma and Mr. Piccard believe that Project BudBurst would provide the perfect opportunity to get kids outside and enable them to enjoy nature while engaging in meaningful learning experiences. 

Students working with this national initiative will consider difficult questions about our changing climate and will work alongside interested community members to find answers.

Allendale sixth grade Science teacher Keith Piccard

Keith Piccard, who spends time doing field work in the state of Wyoming during his summers, is especially excited to contribute to field work right here in West Michigan. “I want as many kids possible to be outside. By connecting with Project BudBurst we’ll have 5-10 minute activities built-in so that kids can interact with science. Longterm, I’d love to collaborate with others to write a new outdoor curriculum that would also incorporate geology and aquatic invertebrates.” 

Dr. Peter Riemersma

For his part, Professor Riemersma is taking a sabbatical next year and will spend his time writing grants with the hopes of funding additional trees and plants to add to the Allendale BudBurst garden, as well as expanding the curricular focus to include more areas of study. 

Dr. Riemersma contacted Project BudBurst to obtain a list of recommended plants for Michigan participants; using these plants ensures that species specific to our region will be represented in the garden.

Both he and Mr. Piccard are looking forward to initiating Allendale’s participation in this project by launching a Community Field Day on May 12. This day will give community members, parents, students, and teachers the opportunity to plant new flowers, trees, and shrubs that will then be observed for years to come.

We are so grateful to both of these men–and the many others working behind the scenes–for their vision, their dedication to excellent authentic learning experiences, and for their generous gift of time to make it all happen!

Mark your calendars now for May 12 and come back next week for more information.

Lastly, If you would like to help with this project by acting as a sponsor, please contact Mr. Piccard or Dr. Riemersma.

Categories: Community News, Special Projects at APS | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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