Learning the bear necessities: Hands-on learning for Miltona studentsSome students at Miltona Science Magnet School spent one of their spring break days learning the “bear” necessities.
Some students at Miltona Science Magnet School spent one of their spring break days learning the “bear” necessities.
The 5th and 6th graders traveled to Camp Ripley to take part in a bear research project. Miltona students were among the lucky few to be selected to participate from hundreds of schools on a waiting list.
A study of black bears was initiated at Camp Ripley in 1991. The study was part of a statewide research project conducted by the Department of Natural Resources. The principal objectives of the study include monitoring of reproduction, cub survival, examination of habitat use and movements with GPS telemetry.
The students learned about Camp Ripley’s bear population, how the bear dens were monitored and the purpose of the study before they headed into the woods to see the bears.
After the bears were sedated and the area was deemed safe, the students were escorted to the bear den, where there was a sow bear and two yearling cubs. They assisted researchers as the bears’ size, weight, body fat, blood and teeth were examined. They interacted with the researchers, asked questions and learned about each test and procedure that was conducted. They also explored the bear den.
The experience was the culminating activity to a year-long research project that students had been conducting on bears. The school’s naturalist and Miltona teachers spend last school year integrating bear research into their reading and writing in hopes that the field trip would become a reality.
The hands-on experience, teachers said, will not be something that the students will soon forget.