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From Butterflies to Box Turtles

Experiential & Hands On Learning at FernLeaf!

FernLeaf students learn by doing every day and it’s safe to say that a large part of that doing occurs outside of the classroom, as in outdoors! One of the many ways in which teachers create rich learning environments is to take their class outside where students can experience learning in a very tangible way. In this blog we're sharing a couple of perfect examples of what experiential learning and outdoor education look like at FernLeaf.

Our 2nd graders participated in a hands-on science experiment through which they learned about monarch butterflies and the butterfly life cycle called metamorphosis. Years ago, students and teachers at FernLeaf planted a milkweed garden that our current 2nd graders used to feed their caterpillars. The students observed, fed and then waited patiently to watch the transformation from caterpillars to chrysalises to butterflies.

The time came to take their lesson and butterflies outside. It was a magical experience as they released the beautiful butterflies they spent weeks observing and learning about in class. It was an awe-inspiring moment for both students and teachers alike. It was a joyful sight to see them take flight.

In addition to the learning experience that takes place during regular school hours, FernLeaf offers an array of afterschool programs to enhance their educational opportunities. This year students are participating in a Turtle Tracking Club. Led by 5th & 6th grade science teacher, Emily Moreno, students gather after school to adventure along the trails of our 93 acre Wilderness Campus to collect data for the NC Box Turtle Connect Project.

The students and teachers trek through the woods in search of box turtles, occasionally using turtle detection dogs to assist in the search! Over the course of the program, students learn about box turtles and their population while collecting data associated with the turtles they locate for the state-wide project. They learn how they can be good stewards of our local turtle populations and in turn, teach others.

FernLeaf is an incredible place to learn not only academics but how to be better stewards of our world and the connectedness we all share with each other and nature.

Are you interested in learning if FernLeaf is a good place for your student? Sign up to take a tour! We can't wait to meet you!

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