by Bill Mees
As every Missouri resident knows, our weather is unpredictable. As a way of coping with the uncertainty, the 2017 Band With Nature 2nd grade field trip was scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday (October 9, 11, & 13) with the interim days reserved for weather cancellations. Not only were there NO weather cancellations, but when it did rain, it was on Tuesday!
With that promising start, the field trip only got better. This year, 48 classrooms registered to attend the field trip. Those classes represented 18 of the 21 elementary schools in the Columbia Public School district, around 1,100 students! Other participants included parents and grandparents, bird banding and Raptor Rehab staff, high school students who coordinated the Owl Pellet dissection and bird adaptation activity stations, and of course CAS volunteers. In all, over 200 adults also participated in and learned from the event.
One teacher forwarded an email stating: “I’ve taught second grade in the past, but this was my first Band With Nature trip. It was amazing – I think I had just as much fun as the kids! Thank you for all that you do for our CPS kids.”
Although CAS provides the property, signage, volunteers, toilets, and lunches, that is just the tip of the iceberg for this event. Mike Szydlowski, the CPS science department director, organizes two of the activities, secures the needed volunteers and supplies for those, schedules the bus transportation, and assigns times and dates to each participating school trying to match schedules with each school’s preferences. I have a headache just thinking about that, but Mike makes it all work. Thank you Mike Szydlowski! The CAS members and friends who volunteer to assist teachers, staff, and students wherever they are needed also deserve their share of credit for making this year’s event such a success. – by Bill Mees