Leonard kids to visit nature center thanks to grant

Today, children spend a tremendous amount of time with various electronic devices including televisions, computers, tablets, video games and cell phones.

As they become more intertwined with these devices, many worry that they may lose touch with one of life’s most beautiful gifts: nature.

A $1,000 donation to Oxford Schools from Seven Ponds Nature Center located in Dryden, through a grant from the Four County Community Foundation, has made it possible for one Oxford Schools class to go on a field trip and become reacquainted with that gift.

The donation, according to SPNC Director of Environmental Education Carrie Spencer, comes from a $14,500 grant from the Four County Community Foundation for a project titled “Let’s Get Children Outdoors.”

“We hope when the students from Oxford come to SPNC, that they’ll slow down,” said Spencer. “We want to help them keep their sense of wonder. I think some children, younger and younger these days, are losing that sense of wonder and I think that’s really sad. We want to help get them outside, slow them down and allow them to just really explore and be in nature.”

The Four County Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization which strives to make a positive impact on the villages and cities of Almont, Armada, Capac, Dryden, Imlay City, Metamora, Oxford and Romeo, Michigan.

The grant provides funds to help get students from the Almont, Armada, Capac, Dryden, Imlay City, Oxford, Richmond and Romeo school districts out to Seven Ponds on field trips during 2018.

The “Let’s Get Children Outdoors” project addresses a growing concern that today’s young people are not spending enough time outdoors.

According to Oxford Schools Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Ken Weaver, Oxford Schools has benefited from this grant annually for the last six years.

He added that the district rotates the SPNC donations annually between its elementary schools.

This year, Oxford’s portion of the grant ($1,000) will allow one grade-level from Leonard Elementary to attend the center.

SPNC, located in Dryden, Michigan, has 486 acres which contain deep glacial lakes, ponds, marshes, fields, woodlands and prairie. These provide sanctuary for various kinds of plants and animals and serve as a peaceful retreat for visitors.

The center hosts a variety of summer programs, school field trips, programs for scout groups and trail tours.

Among its many programs, SPNC offers trail walks and pond dips to K-6 students. All SPNC programs align with concepts which are relative to the State of Michigan’s science curriculums according to Spencer.

Leonard Elementary’s third-grade classes attend SPNC’s “Natural Resources and Human Impact” lessons annually, according to Spencer, where they learn about how natural resources were used by Woodland Indians and how we use those resources today.

To learn more about Seven Ponds Nature Center, visit sevenponds.org.


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