West Middle School was fortunate to have Mrs. Braatz speak to sixth grade science students. Mrs. Braatz is a naturalist with the International Wildlife Refuge, located in Gibraltar. ‘
She shared her career requirements, duties and responsibilities with the students. Her message to the students was that everyone can be a naturalist. This is because naturalists appreciate the abundance of nature that exists right in their own backyard. She also informed the students that the positive connections between nature and our physical, mental and emotional well being have been well documented.
Mrs. Braatz encouraged the students to make observations in their own neighborhoods. Listen for the sounds of nature, like birdcalls and animal sounds. Also, look for animal footprints or tracks.
Finally, the students were surprised to learn how much information can be gleaned from animal scat. Animal scat can tell us what kind of animals were recently in the area and what they ate.
Mrs. Braatz has been a wonderful community partner to West. Her visits have motivated students to explore nature, appreciate the benefits of nature, as well as observe signs that nature exist as soon as they step outside.
Mrs. Fent and Mrs. Schulte, sixth grade science teachers, will continue to reinforce the information and suggestions that Mrs. Braatz presented in her visit.