Valley News Article: Thetford Outdoor Program Delivers Dose of Nature
December 10, 2017
On Friday December 1st the Valley News visited the Thetford Outdoor Program and wrote this amazing article.
In the more than 500 acres contained on the campus of Thetford Academy and Thetford Hill State Park, Scott Ellis finds endless potential for learning. Standing within a grove of 70-year-old red pines during a Thetford Outdoor Program class on Friday, he saw teaching opportunities all around him.
“You look at something like these trees; it’s not a teaching moment, it’s a teaching continuum,” said Ellis, 38, a White River Junction resident and naturalist in his first year leading TA’s outdoors program. “These trees were planted. Well, why were they planted and when? Why is their bark flaky? You can learn so much and still only be scratching the surface of what’s around us out here.”
That’s the idea behind the Thetford Outdoor Program, a half-day class that provides science, English and elective credits and explores a multitude of initiatives within Thetford Hill State Park. Its nine students recently erected signage presenting an historical timeline of the park, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, as well as interpretive wooden-platform descriptions of some of the mixed hardwood tree species on site.
TOP students showcased the new features to 17 Lyme Elementary School third-graders and teacher Tricia Gautreau on Friday. While temperatures were chilly, every student asked said it beats nearly any curriculum indoors.
“I’m an outdoor kid, always have been,” said sophomore Hunter LeFevre. “To learn this kind of stuff, it’s what I’ve always been into, so to get credit for it is pretty awesome.”