Monday, December 17, 2012
Summit Charter School, in Cashiers, NC, continues to utilize its TTEC curricula, and this year they focused on service projects along the A.T. in the Standing Indian area. Last fall, Summit built an informational kiosk at the Rock Gap Shelter. This kiosk is maintained by students from all grades at the school and serves hikers with information on the flora, fauna, and resources of the area, and information about the school.
From year to year, all classes K-8 rotate displays and help maintain the kiosk at the shelter using topics that are covered in the respective grades’ place-based curriculum. These may include such things as identification of trees, flowers, and salamanders, as well as, examples of local cultural heritage, excerpts from student nature journals, artwork, and poetry for hikers to enjoy and learn from. Funds from the NC license plate grant are used to purchase camping equipment such as tents and lanterns that will enhance the students’ experiences and be extremely useful to the continued development of Summit Charter School’s place-based program.
In September the 8th grade visited the A.T. on a field excursion as “Citizen Scientists” to collect data on the quality of the water at various streams and springs along the trail. This will be the sixth consecutive year that Summit Charter School has partnered with the Nantahala Hiking Club in order to assist the organization with their participation in the World Water Monitoring program. The students conduct water quality tests at six specific sites where A.T. hikers typically refill drinking water. Other activities students experience during this field trip include a salamander diversity program. Students discuss salamanders as indicator species and their importance to the unique temperate rainforest habitat of Western North Carolina as they collect data on species abundance and diversity in streams where water is tested. The students visit several A.T. shelters, read and add to journal entries, learn Leave No Trace ethics, hike for several miles on the A.T., visit the Albert Mountain Fire Tower, and interact with hikers. The data collected, information learned, and reflections on their experience will be placed in the kiosk along with information from other Summit students for the fall season.
Posted by julie judkins