eton Regional Land Trust currently has five different teacher trunks. The trunks are available to local teachers to help encourage students' knowledge and interest in science, particularly about their local environment. Each trunk is full of lessons, field studies, specimens and supplemental materials for interactive programs that give students "hands-on" experiences outside the standard science curriculum. Trunk materials are designed for teaching grades 1-8.
Mapping and GPS Trunk
Trunk contains mapping materials, GPS units, maps of the local area, compasses, and tools to teach about topography. Lessons range from creative mapping exercises to orienteering and technical processes.
Woods Creek Fen Ecosystem Trunk
The contents of this trunk can facilitate lessons in the classroom or outdoors, however it is designed to encourage the use of Wood’s Creek Fen, TRLT’s outdoor classroom. Activities help students explore the wetland ecosystem through a process of exploration and by using scientific tools.
Winter Ecology Trunk
This trunk encourages students to understand the important role of the winter season Teton Valley. Resources include activities to teach about animal and plant adaptations, tracking, snow science, and winter survival.
Explore the water birds that play an integral part in the Upper Snake River Watershed. From trumpeter swan wings to sandhill crane footprints, you can use lessons created to teach about the importance of Teton Valley to migrating birds.
Focused on birds of prey, this trunk includes materials to teach about the physical adaptations and special features of raptors. Actual taxadermic birds and owl pellets help bring exploration of raptors into the classroom.
The Teton Regional Land Trust and the Teton Nordic Team collaborate to host the annual Nordic Naturalists ski event for children. The Land Trust leads a winter wildlife ski each year on a conservation easement property for the Ski Team kids to encourage children to explore the natural world around them as they ski. The kids venture out onto ungroomed trails to seek out wildlife, their scat and tracks. Children receive a Nordic Naturalist wildlife tracking card to keep track of all the wildlife signs they find while skiing. Each child who takes a total of three wildlife tracking skies throughout the winter and records their observations on their card receives a Nordic Naturalist pin to help them commemorate their wildlife observation work.
Here’s to all the kids who are official Nordic Naturalists, can’t wait to see you next winter!
Chester Wetlands is a 1501-acre property located along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River just north of St. Anthony, Idaho. The property was historically a cattle ranch. Through a collaborative effort by the Teton Regional Land Trust, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, The Nature Conservancy, The Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service and local residents, it is now managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for its natural resource and recreational value. The property is home to moose, deer, waterfowl, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, sage grouse and more. Roughly half the property is wetland.
The Teton Regional Land Trust, the Henry’s Fork Foundation and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game partner annually to host a fieldtrip to Chester Wetlands for all 5th grade students in Fremont County, Idaho. The students and teachers are invited to explore Chester Wetlands in the hope that they grow to appreciate their unique local environment. We hope the students learn of the importance of rivers and seasonal wetlands to the plants and animals in the area...and of course have fun! ■
Woods Creek Fen is a 60-acre wetland property owned by the Teton Regional Land Trust and managed as an outdoor classroom for students and the community to learn more about fens and wetlands in the region. Students from local schools as well as Audubon groups, rare plant societies and other community members are invited to gather at the Fen to enjoy wildlife, rare plants, spring creeks and sump holes.
Fens are wetlands with peat soils that are primarily influenced by ground water. Peat is formed when seasonal water fluctuation is stabilized and standing water creates anaerobic conditions that reduce decomposition of plant material and allow peat accumulation. Due to the complexities of peat formation, fens may take thousands of years to develop and are considered irreplaceable wetlands. Woods Creek Fen is recognized as one of seven wetlands deserving special conservation consideration in the Upper Snake River Watershed because of its importance to conserving rare plant habitats and maintaining wetland and aquatic diversity in Idaho. Furthermore, Woods Creek Fen has been characterized as the most floristically unique wetland in Teton County, Idaho. Seven rare plant species have been documented within the Woods Creek Fen Property.
The Teton Regional Land Trust recently completed a new educational kiosk area at the Woods Creek Fen Property. The area includes signage that explains background information about fens and informs the visitor of plant and wildlife species they may see on property. A “treasure hunt” area leads youth visitors through the seasons at Woods Creek Fen. The area also includes a platform and spotting scope for viewing the fen. This project was made possible by Debbie and Stu Tenney, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many other generous partners.■