Turning Fear into Wonder
NPAT Education Director Della Barbato organizes regular school field trips to our marvelous Deer Park Prairie. When the bus from Houston’s Sam Rayburn High School pulled up last fall, teacher Cheri Crawford’s students stepped off and glanced around. Many of them looked bored. Others seemed apprehensive. What is this place? Why are we here?
Della saw the look on their faces and was ready. She introduced the students to the prairie ecosystem and its history in Texas. Then she led them out onto the prairie, showing them how to capture insects with nets to examine them up close, and then gently holding them before returning them safely to their grassland home. The day ended with an overview of conservation careers and learning the Attwater Prairie Chicken dance!
Fast forward to the start of this school year. As Ms. Crawford welcomed her students, many asked “When are we going back to the prairie?” They have enthusiastically returned this fall for another adventure with the incredible diversity and beauty of native prairies.
Della broke through their fears and gave them a sense of wonder.
Della asked Ms. Crawford what she sees in her students who go on these field trips. She said, “I see them making connections between what I teach them in class and what is going around them, outside of their neighborhood. I really enjoyed seeing them enjoy being outside and experiencing this ecosystem.”