Prairie restoration ‘hands on’ lesson for RMS eight graders

In late September, the eighth grade students at RMS-CES (Rockford Middle School-Center for Environmental Studies) traveled to Crow-Hassan Park Reserve to collect seeds from native plant species in Minnesota.

According to the Three Rivers Park District, seed collectors “help restore prairies by collecting native wildflower seed. Volunteers help increase the amount and diversity of seed planted each year in the more than 800 acres of restored prairie managed by Three Rivers Park District.”

RMS-CES eighth graders (right to left) Taylor Elliot, Luke Patzner and Chance Behne collect seeds at the Crow-Hassen Park Reserve.They are learning about Minnesota’s prairies and restoration.

RMS-CES eighth graders (right to left) Taylor Elliot, Luke Patzner and Chance Behne collect seeds at the Crow-Hassen Park Reserve.They are learning about Minnesota’s prairies and restoration.

Seed collection volunteers learn about prairie history, seed identification, and prairie restoration.

According to Nick Grates, an eighth grade student, “We learned how vital it is to keep the prairie alive. Without the prairie, some animals could not survive because that is the ecosystem they live in. More importantly, we need the prairie because less than one percent of Minnesota’s native prairie is left.”

Three Rivers Park District is one of the partners of RMS-CES. In addition to volunteer opportunities, the middle school students also participate in three outdoor learning experiences per year–one per season. Events on these days include learning activities such as survival skills, animal print identification, canoeing, cross country skiing, digital photography, and service learning.

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