(Posted April 9, 2001)

Juniata College education students and volunteers from the college's Environmental Science Society will teach fifth-graders from two area schools about salamanders, snakes and assorted other flora and fauna from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 25 at the Raystown Field Station.

The educational outreach effort is a pilot program designed to introduce elementary school-age children to concepts in environmental and wildlife science. This year, classes from Southside Elementary School in Huntingdon and Brady-Henderson Elementary School in Mill Creek will spend the day at various teaching stations learning about such concepts as animal habitat, bird migration and watershed quality.

The teaching curriculum was developed by students in "Science Methods," an education class taught by Ron Pauline, associate professor of education at Juniata College. "This is not just a matter of having fun outside," Pauline explains. "The students will have create the curriculum and form a teaching strategy. They will be teaching in a real-life science experience, rather than just reading about it in a classroom."

"The elementary students will be divided into groups and visit seven teaching stations," explains Ann Margrave, a senior from Cortland, N.Y. and an environmental education intern at the research station. "Three students from the Science Methods class will be at each station as well as two volunteers from the environmental society."

The research stations that each student will visit are as follows:

--Amphibians: Students will handle salamanders and frogs as they learn concepts about how amphibians breathe and survive in various habitats.

--Birds: Live birds will be captured using mist nets, including tufted titmice and chickadees. Students will be allowed to handle live birds and study stuffed specimens. The station also features a fossil of Archaeopteryx, one of the earliest birds found in the fossil record. As part of the activities, students also will play a bird migration game.

--Fish: This station will focus on live fish collected from Raystown Lake earlier in the day. Students also will examine mounted specimens of various native fish.

--Mammals: Students will go on a nature walk to examine the habitat and behavior of white-tailed deer. Stuffed mammal specimens as well as mounted mammal skeletons also will be on display.

--Reptiles: Live snakes and lizards will be the main attraction at this station. Students also will learn how reptiles are different from other types of wildlife.

--Macroinvertebrates: Also called "A Stream in a Bucket," this station will detail how to examine water samples for insects and other forms of life. Students also will learn how the presence of insects can indicate the health of a particular stream or habitat.

--Food Web/Ecology: Students will examine how the food chain works in nature.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.