Winter Tracks with Forrest M Bird 8th Grade Class

On March 5th, Forrest M Bird Eighth graders climbed aboard the bright, safety-yellow school bus and rode out to Round Lake State Park, where 20 FSPW Volunteers awaited, strategically stationed for their arrival at the FSPW Winter Tracks field-day event.

Ranger Chuck Gross welcomes student visitors at the Round Lake amphitheatre. Photo courtesy: Kristen Nowicki.

54 Students filed from the school bus, a backpack-strap slung over each shoulder, and into the crescent arrangement of wooden benches that comprises the park’s unique amphitheatre.  The late-winter morning was chilly, but the snow had since melted with spring-trending temperatures, and a warming fire crackled at the stage front.

Introductions by FSPW Project Coordinator Kristen Nowicki and Idaho State Park Ranger Chuck Gross welcomed the students to this first-annual FSPW Winter Tracks field trip day at this state park, which boosts a historical structure, an interpretive room, and a park focus on preservation of the habitats and ecology present within park boundaries.

tracks board
On the education trail… Photo courtesy: Fionna Hicks



The students then “rainbowed” out into color groups, Red, Yellow, Green, or Blue, and sought out their colorful FSPW Volunteer Guide, who would lead their group of fifteen to each of four “Winter Tracks Stations” throughout the day.  Thanks to Diane, Holly, Sandy, Patty and Dave for being great Leaders and keeping the kids safe and on track for the day!


class at the lake
The Outdoor Classroom w/ Dave and Suzie K. Photo courtesy: Fionna Hicks

Ten outstanding volunteers put forth incredible effort to develop and present 4 outdoor-related mini-classes during this event.  FSPW Volunteers ran stations spread out across the north half of beautiful Round Lake shoreline and introduced topics to the students including Wildlife Tracking, Winter Evergreens, Habitats and Niches, and N. Idaho Mammals. Thanks so much to Volunteers Celeste, Mary, Dave, Suzie, Brian, Mike, Shane, Bonnie, Ken, Becky, Dan and Mary for all the creativity, care, and attention to detail you devoted in developing these winter educational experiences for our eighth grade students.

Celeste and Mary get the cozy, warm room, and cool wildlife samples to pass around! Photo courtesy: Phil Hough

The kids were treated to a long, leisurely lunch at the lake thanks to volunteers Phil, Denise, and Peter (who was also our ‘doorman’ and video-tographer! -way to go!).  These 3 volunteers were the heart-in-the-hearth for this day and warmed bodies and souls with campfire-roast favorites grilled on the fires they had built earlier in the stone chimney pavilion along the shoreline trail.

hearth2With the final addition of some early afternoon sunshine, these polite, curious, and fun-loving 8th grade students from Forrest M Bird Middle School could hardly have asked for a better “school-day.”  Thanks to all the Students, Teachers, Parent Chaperones, and Food Caterers that supported this wonderful FSPW Winter Tracks field day.

Travis Tuttle
Kristen thanking Travis and telling Middle School about FSPW. Photo courtesy: Sandy Compton

And to our surprise and delight, our work with FMB Middle School had a pleasant after-glow on March 22nd when Travis (Logan is his other first name) Tuttle choose FSPW as his non-profit-of-choice when he won the Find-the-Pig, Win Big! Verizon educational contest. Winners of the financial ‘scavenger hunt’ learn about financial principals, get a cash award, and get to name a favorite cause to donate a matching award to.  Travis chose FSPW, “because I like Wildlife,” he told us.  Thank you, Travis, and Mr. Scotchman says thanks as well!!!

FSPW is excited to host Travis and his peers for the 2016 8th grade class trip FSPW Winter Tracks!  Congratulations to this years’ Forrest M Bird Middle School 2015 graduates, what a great group of kids!

Thank you to all our students and volunteers, Round Lake State Park, and ID Master Naturalists, and everyone who lent a hand or thought throughout this years’ FSPW Winter Tracks.  Have a great summer, and we will see you next year!

Keep Reaching for Education, Everyone!

Keep Wild!

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