The Grizzly Ranch Conservancy hosted the first Outdoor Education Field Day for Portola’s Carmichael School at Grizzly Ranch on October 22, 2009. Rob Wade, Director for the Plumas County Outdoor Education Program, arrived with a bus load of 55 sixth grade students, three elementary school teachers, the Principal of R. C. Carmichael School and three environmental specialists to assist in the field day. The group began their day at Big Grizzly Creek where instructors discussed the fishery, water quality, riparian vegetation and the importance of stream insects to the aquatic food chain. Instructors also demonstrated water quality testing and how insect populations are monitored in an aquatic environment. The group then walked the length of the creek and observed local birds, the geology and identified important riparian plants. The students were also treated to a demonstration of fly fishing by local fisherman Bill Forward.
The next stop was the Lake House on the Grizzly Ranch property where Bill Forward, a local flyfishing expert and retired science teacher, demonstrated fly casting and discussed how to tie flies for fishing. Several students practiced fly casting after Bill’s demonstration and this activity was enjoyed by all. Those who tried would agree that it looks easier than it is. Practice, practice, practice!
The field day activities were instructive, interactive and fun which was a real hit with the students and the teachers alike. I think the participants would agree that the first Grizzly Ranch Conservancy Outdoor Education Field Day was a success and that the educational activities were well presented and received. This experience will help school district organizers and the Conservancy to plan another program in 2010 with a possible expansion to include additional elementary school classes.