Kelloggsville student Chandler Pham took a break from sprucing up a path through the woods to consider his role with several classmates in bringing fifth graders to Hagar Park, in Georgetown Township.
“It was a new experience for us. We were intrigued by how hard it was and how fun it was to plan,” Chandler said.
In planning the end-of-year field trip, Chandler and 10 other fifth-grade leaders and strong writers worked together for six weeks to write a grant proposal. They picked a park, planned a budget, and wrote about activities to benefit the environment and themselves, said teacher Maureen Bradley. They realized hard work and lots of details are necessary in planning a trip.
They were awarded a grant of $550 from National Park Trust, a Maryland-based organization dedicated to preserving parks and creating park stewards for tomorrow.
To qualify, students had to select a park within 30 miles of their school, schedule events and activities for a stewardship portion, educational portion, and healthy living and exercise portion of the trip, and shop for supplies including water bottles, soccer balls and other recreational items.
The 130 students spent the day pulling dead nettle plants, an invasive species; clearing the path through the woods; learning about the important species covering the forest floor from Ottawa Parks and Recreation Commission staff members and exploring the park’s much-loved wooden playground.
Student Wendy Nguyen, who helped write the grant proposal, said she was happy to see it all come together for her classmates.
“They are out running around and helping the environment,” she said.
Fifth-grader Emilianna Cardenas had the task of calling adults for information about what they would need to make the trip successful.
“I love that people can help out the park and it helps us and our school,” she said.
The students will submit pictures, posters and write a summary of the achievements made on the trip, Bradley said.
Other fifth-grade grant writers included Megan Nguyen, Joselyn Alvarez, Breann DeWitt, Roman Gendron, Canden Swanson and Kayleigh Wohlgemuth.