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Second graders explore the great outdoors during Pond Day
Sue Scott

“I caught another one!” exclaims Karra Ferger. The Cole Elementary School second grader reels in a small bluegill. DNR Conservation Officer Matt Tholen and other volunteers helped Karra take the fish off the hook and release it back into the pond. Learning to cast and fish is part of the Pond Day Extravaganza at the Cole Outdoor Education Center.

Classes from Cole and Mintonye Elementary School moved from station to station to hear from representatives from various organizations and businesses who gave presentations on various topics including soils, dragonflies, bird watching and weather.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for our students,” says Mintonye Elementary Principal Brock Richardson. “Students are really engaged with the presentations that talk about different animals and insects that live in different habitats. I hope they also takeaway how wonderful it is to collaborate with another school and community partners.”

“It’s fun,” says Cole second grader Cooper Rowe. “We are learning about fish, birds and plants, but the one about soil was my favorite.”

“We want children to get outside and enjoy their surroundings,” says Water Quality Educator Monica Christopher with Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality. 

Student Piper Peabody enjoyed the session on macroinvertebrates: “We learned not all bugs are bad. Some eat stuff we don’t want.”

By the end of the outing, second grader Macray Keiser reeled in two fish. And just like some of the famous anglers on TV, he puckered up to a fish. “I caught two bluegills and I kissed one,” says Macray. “I’ve always wanted to kiss a fish.”

Karra Ferger with her fish
Students learn about butterflies
Students bird watching