Tuesday, September 4, 2012

From Eliza Dean

                                 My Time as a Junior Ranger

What I did this summer as a Junior Ranger:

How I helped:

I helped in lots of ways. I taught other kids about nature and how to preserve it and helped around the Field Station. I helped collect creatures for the lab tanks. I help spread awareness of our natural world on Nantucket.

What I learned:

 I learned all about local plants and animals and how to identify them especially birds. I also learned about local plants medicinal qualities and made a pain reducer from Saint John's Wort that I collected. I learned about all of the different habitats on Nantucket as well as the endangered habitats like the grass plains. In particular the Field Station has 4 different habitats, forest, beach, grass plain and marsh, so it was really easy to learn about all of the different kinds of animals that live in the very different habitats.

My notebook

I also used a notebook to write down everything I learned that day so that I could go back to it when I forgot something. It was really great to be able to spot a plant and name it right off the bat using my notes and memorization. I also loved drawing the plants in my notebook so that I could identify what they looked like.

 Leadership and poetry:

Not only did I learn about nature, I also learned about leadership and poetry. Lenny would teach us poetry after lunch and we would all share the poems we made that day. Also when a new Junior Ranger joined, another Junior Ranger would teach them about plants and animals. It was really great to have that kind of trust. I don't know about every other kid, but I don't really experience this kind of trust very often. Working with Lenny and learning about Nantucket’s plants and animals also gave me the confidence to lead some tours.

What activities I liked most:

 I loved seining and bringing shrimp, fish and crabs back to the lab tanks. I also enjoyed  going off in groups or on my own and taking pictures. I thought the Junior Ranger program really let me combine my passion for birds and photography, and I really used everything Lenny taught me. I entered 10 of my photos in the Yesterdays Island Todays Nantucket photo contest, and I want to enter some of them in the National Geographic photo contest. All of the photographs were all from the Field Station. One day I used a tripod. I loved it so much! After that day I showed my parents the pictures and two days later, guess what came in the mail, my own tripod! I also liked teaching during nature walks. Everyone was so enthusiastic and wanted to learn as much as they could.

As a final note, I feel incredibly lucky to have had this experience.  Len Germinara and the entire staff at the UMass Field Station on Nantucket are amazing teachers and really inspired me to continue learning about the natural world. I hope I can go back and be a Junior Ranger next summer.

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