Crete Elementary 4th-Graders Outing
On Friday, May 24, 2013, sixty 4th grade students and their teachers from Crete Elementary School arrived at the Holland Marsh located at the Holland Company Corporate Headquarters in Crete, Illinois. The purpose of their visit was to participate and learn in an outdoor classroom about conservation and stewardship of habitat for animals and plants in a wetland ecosystem. The students were organized into three groups as they were welcomed by Jordan C. Wolf, Holland's President. Dr. Jack Chan, Ecological Engineer of Land Resource Management Group (LRMG), gave the students an overview of the days activities. Then, each of the three groups of students participated in planting milkweed plants to create habitat for monarch caterpillars and butterflies and in planting bulrush species to create habitat for waterfowl, frogs, and turtles. They were then led on a naturalist training walk where they strolled on the boardwalk and trail around the marsh and used their senses to experience and learn about plants, birds, waterfowl, and aquatic life and the habitats they live in. The students were visibly excited and engaged in their learning about ecology. The groups of students were led by Lynn Carr, Project Manager for Holland, Brian Glaves, Plant Ecologist from LRMG, and three additional staff volunteers from Holland Company.
The nature park has been utilized as an outdoor classroom in the past when LRMG helped organize Earth Day events in 2009 and 2010 for Crete Elementary School 4th graders. Both the staff from Holland and the teachers expressed great interest in more frequent outings in the future. Through the success of the now five year old prairie-marsh restoration project, Holland and LRMG continue to promote conservation awareness and the important role the private, for-profit sector can fulfill in teaching our children to be, above all, responsible land stewards.