Park Forest Students Go ‘Batty’

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Learning to identify the various bat species in Illinois was made easier when the students played the "That’s My Bat" memory game. (Photo: ME4E)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– This winter, all 5th graders from Mohawk Intermediate Center, Blackhawk Intermediate Center and the special education students from Forest Trail Middle School are helping the local flying mammals – bats. Each classroom had a field trip to the Aqua Center in Park Forest, while volunteers from the Thorn Creek Audubon Society and ME4E staff led four customized, educational stations.

Each station highlighted a different aspect of Illinois’s native bats. Comparing anatomy of humans and bats, playing a memory game identifying local species, writing a book in order to share their bat knowledge with 2nd graders in School District 163 and constructing a bat house were all part of the experience. ME4E, Multidisciplinary Education for the Environment, coordinated this unique opportunity with S.D. 163’s Science Depot, the Thorn Creek Audubon Society and the Parks and Recreation Department of Park Forest. “It turned out to be an absolute pleasure to watch,” stated Al Thomas, Vice President of the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. “The kids are lucky to have you.”

By mid-January all classrooms will have completed this stage of the program. The Parks and Recreation Department of Park Forest will then mount each bat house approximately 20 feet off the ground around the Central Park Wetlands. Students will return in April of 2008 and work with ME4E staff locating their specific classroom’s bat house while exploring the wetland habitat. The students will also take a GPS reading and a bat house map will be created for the public to utilize.

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These 5th graders in Mrs. Rose’s class at Mohawk Intermediate Center took at close look at an actual bat skeleton during the Buddies 4 Bats program. (Photo: ME4E)

In order for the students to expand their interest about bats, ME4E set up a blog to empower students to share their experience and ask additional questions about bats. This blog also allows other groups that ME4E has worked with to comment about their newly acquired knowledge.

ME4E offers unique, customized programs for all ages. They utilize your community’s natural areas for field trips while incorporating your educational goals and objectives. Various types of learning styles and topics are intergraded into each event. Pre and post visits/activities are encouraged to promote a better understanding of the program’s theme. To learn more about the services ME4E provides, visit www.ME4E.org.

Source: ME4E.org