Members of the Honors Chemistry Class of Jefferson High School gathered with chemistry instructor Alma Rivera and staff members of Collins Academy to spend a day in the great outdoors in the woods and on the water at Caddo Lake.
These students make up the Jefferson Conservation Leadership Team and started their day performing water quality monitoring at the City of Jefferson’s public boat launch. After documentation of their water quality findings, the journey to Goose Prairie at the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge was made. Collins Academy Director, Gary Endsley and wildlife biologist Robert Haynes directed the students on a two mile trek through the woods searching for plant, animal and bird species.
The students were able to locate many young tree and cricket frogs, which indicate a healthy lake environment; many Northern Parula Warblers, sensitive Scarlet Buckeyes, Black Swallowtail butterflies, and several fern species including the Resurrection Fern. They were also able to see the flooded areas, from recent rains. Upon their return from the nature hike, students were fitted for personal flotation devices as they teamed up in canoes and kayaks to discover the beauty of the lake and Cypress trees.
After their boating excursion, students gathered at the newly constructed Starr Ranch Pavilion for sack lunches and grilled hotdogs. After one last paddle around the lake, the students boarded their bus for the trip back to school. The students expressed excitement about their “outdoor classroom” trip, and enjoyment of the hands-on lessons. Tenth grader James Roraback said he really likes Mrs. Rivera’s class, “she always plans unique activities for us along with Collins Academy.” Students attending were Mathew Perez, Sir Charles Johnson, James Roraback, Mason McNeely, Mariah Williams, Robert Sachtleben, Sharday Turner, Caleb Wallace and Valkyrie Neel.
For information on Collins Academy science programs, call (903) 665-2900.