Woodlands, Wetlands, and Prairie Inspire Third-Grade Minds

Wading through clear, cool streams, strolling along shady forest paths, and exploring tall prairie grasslands sounds like a vacation destination in the mountains, but last week third-grade students got those experiences less than four miles from their MICDS classrooms. 

Paul Zahller, JK-12 Science Department Chair & Upper School Science Teacher, and Laura Pupillo, Lower School Science Teacher, led the third-grade class on field trips to the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center located in Ladue. There, students got to experience Missouri’s finest ecosystems. At the stream, students discovered macro-invertebrates, setting the foundation for next year’s fourth-grade stream team experience. Third-grader Jimmy P. ’31 described the experience succinctly: “It was really fun how you get to learn about the stream.” 

Students saw dragonfly nymphs and adult dragonflies which were busy scuttling or flying about at this time of the season, and they found several crayfish and fossils that provided evidence of life from Missouri’s distant past. Jimmy’s favorite part of the day was finding a crayfish that looked like nothing he had ever seen before. “It was brown and red, but the claws were blue and leopard-skinned.”

Students got to see firsthand the importance of a healthy river corridor and the impact that development has on the ecology of these ecosystems. That lesson resonated with third-grader Angela Y. ’31. “If you were an architect, you could tell someone where they should build their house if it was near a beach,” she said, taking to heart the importance of minimizing our impact on biodiverse ecosystems. 

It was a tremendous experience full of learning and discovery. Way to go, Ram ecologists!