By Jason KUROSU
Though featured for various field trips throughout the local area, the Rosemont Preserve was opened up Tuesday morning to its first visiting class from South Glendale. Two second grade classes from Horace Mann Elementary School took a bus to La Crescenta for a chance for some hands-on learning within the 7.75 acres of the Preserve.
Rachel Harter, who previously taught second and third grade at Mountain Avenue Elementary, had visited the preserve with her Mountain Avenue class and wanted to introduce her current second graders to some of the area’s natural resources, as well as expose them to factors that make up communities.
“For many of them, it’s the first time they get to see nature in a natural setting, instead of the plants they might see in an urban park,” said Harter.
With Keghanoush Bairamian’s second grade class, the two classes split into four groups and explored the expanse of the Rosemont Preserve. Docents from the Friends of the Rosemont Preserve, a volunteer advisory committee of the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy, led walking tours of the land in which the students learned of the native plants and their uses by the early people of the area.
Volunteers such as Barbara Nielson, a Mountain Avenue parent who introduced the Preserve to Harter and other Mountain Avenue teachers, and Paul Rabinov of the Friends of the Rosemont Preserve, led the tours, taking kids along the trail. The students were shown which plants were utilized for practical purposes, which were considered edible, and which were poisonous and not to be trifled with.
The classes were also the first second-grade classes to be invited for a field trip at the Preserve. Typically, third and sixth grade classes were the only ones that attended, according to Barbara Goto of the Friends of the Rosemont Preserve.
Goto also said that they had spoken with the teachers beforehand in order to better integrate their lesson plans into the subject matter of the walking tours.
“A lot of kids these days only experience nature through their textbooks,” said Nielson. “This makes the textbook real.”
Two more classes from Horace Mann will visit the Preserve today. For more information on the Rosemont Preserve and other land acquired by the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy, visit www.arroyosfoothills.org.