The Falmouth Rotary Club Teaticket School Education and Nature Trail
You have never seen or heard the outdoors like this. The Falmouth Rotary Club, working with the Committee for Outdoor Education, the Falmouth educational system, and The 300 Committee Land Trust has set up an education nature trail for children at the Teaticket Elementary school. The trail starts at an outdoor classroom, runs past a master kiosk which presents a map of the 2,000 ft. long trail and directs you to ten QR stations starting on school grounds and ending up in Teaticket Park. Like hunting for Easter eggs, these stations allow you to access the QR code with a cell phone or cellular-capable tablet and presents a 30-second video with sounds and sights of the environment. We try to transport you up close to animals and plants along the trail.
Originally begun as a means of reducing exposure and risk of COVID-19 by advancing education outdoors in the Falmouth school system, the educational nature trail addresses three critical areas. We call them The 3Cs – cardiac health, curriculum enhancement, and conservation awareness.
For better health, encouraging our children to learn outdoors is strongly linked to lower blood pressure, strong heart rate, and better stress hormone level, plus decreased anxiety, depression, and fatigue. A study presented in Nature’s Scientific reports in 2019 found that 20,000 participants were significantly more likely to report good health and well-being when they spent 120 minutes or more in nature per week.
To tie the videos into the curriculum of the school, the dialog is chosen in the scripts to match the elementary science curriculum Mystery Science and Outdoor Learning Opportunities. For the Teaticket Nature Trail, the script is labeled by the learning unit through Grades 1 to 4 including “Plant and Animal Superpowers,” “Plant Adventures,” “Animal Adventures,” “Power of Flowers,” “Animals through Time,” and many more. For instance, with Script #1 – Woodland Tree, “My name is Ork. I am a woodland tree with a trunk, branches, and leaves. My green leaves contain chlorophyll which takes in CO2 and forms oxygen necessary for me to survive. A full-grown tree absorbs CO2 at a rate of 48 lbs. per year, producing enough oxygen per day to support two human adults.” (Plant and Animal Superpowers)
The trail starts at the Teaticket school and circles through the wetlands of Teaticket Park, owned and managed by The 300 Committee Land Trust. T3C has helped to preserve over 2,500 acres of acquired land, bringing the permanently protected land area in the Town of Falmouth to 22%, among the highest on Cape Cod. This protects many of the original habitats, plant and animal species, and ecosystems for the future generations.
The use of the trail on the parkland is available at any time (QR Stations 4 through 10), but access to the school trail portion (school kiosk and Stations 1 through 3) is available on the weekends or Monday through Friday after 5:30 p.m. Adult supervision of children is required on school grounds.
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Photo Credit: Steve Heaslip photos
Cape Cod Times
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