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Madison County School to Use Pond for Education
November 10, 2009
Plans are being developed to use the pond at the newly-built Legacy Elementary School in Madison County as an outdoor classroom. On October 26, the school staff met with Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) biologists to discuss the educational possibilities of the pond, which will provide fishing opportunities and hands-on learning activities to satisfy requirements for all grade levels of science.
Legacy Elementary Principal Dr. Claudia Styles, assistant principal Pam Huggins, parent volunteer Alison Darby and plant manager Joe Towry met with Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) staff Phil Ekema and Doug Darr to discuss some of the ways the pond can be used for education. Students, science teachers, and administrators are excited about the educational possibilities for using the pond as an outdoor classroom.
Preparing the pond to serve as an outdoor classroom will take place during the remainder of the school year. Successful stocking of bream, bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker), is done in the winter; and largemouth bass are stocked the following spring. Channel catfish may be stocked at any time. Though fish will need a year to grow to catchable sizes, the pond will eventually be used to introduce children to fishing.
WFF Biologists checked the pond with a seine (fishing net) to determine that there are no wild fish present. Wild fish in a pond can upset the natural balance of stocked predators such as bass, and their prey, bream. A pond stocked with the proper numbers of bream, bass and catfish creates a simple ecosystem where students can study the relationship between predators and prey.
According to the Alabama Course of Study for Science: Kindergarteners need to classify objects as solids or liquids and compare size, shape, structure, and basic needs of living things. First graders will classify animals and plants according to physical traits and describe a variety of habitats and natural homes of animals. Second graders need to identify characteristics of animals, including behavior, size, and body covering. Third graders learn to describe the role of plants in a food chain and identify photosynthesis as the method used by plants to produce food. Fourth graders learn to describe incomplete and complete metamorphosis of animals. Fifth graders describe the relationship of populations within a habitat, such as a pond.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.
Photo (L-R): Phil Ekema, Dr. Claudia Styles, Pam Huggins, Alison Darby and Joe Towry.