Explore your world: Murphy students learn about habitats at Skinner Lake

First graders from Murphy Elementary searched high and low for frogs, salamanders and other critters that live in the uplands near Skinner Lake on Thursday. Mr. Hoppe (pictured), instructor at the R. Michael Supernault Outdoor Education Center, gave a presentation to the students about the importance of understanding and preserving habitats.

LAPEER, Michigan — The woods adjacent to Skinner Lake were alive with sounds of rapture and capture on Thursday morning.

“I’ve got a salamander!” one student yelled to another. “It’s a Lead-backed!” Not to be outdone, another student was certain he’d found an even greater prize. “It’s a tree frog!” he proclaimed.

At the direction of Mr. Hoppe, an instructor at Skinner Lake, the students fanned out over a small piece of a much larger upland area, an outdoor classroom of sorts, that has been a part of the Lapeer Community Schools since 2008. This wildlife habitat improvement project is the outgrowth of a partnership between LCS, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited and the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

Students at the district-owned site were taught about the importance of treading lightly on our natural environment and leaving habitats the way we find them.

The great discoveries of the day were placed in miniature bio-domes, replicas of the wetland habitat the 25 or so first graders from Mrs. Kopchick’s class at Murphy Elementary had just learned about.

The students were also able to learn about search and rescue dogs from two members of the K-9 One Search & Rescue team.

Gone to the Dogs

Just prior to the students’ exploration of the uplands, representatives from K-9 One Search & Rescue showed off a pair of search and rescue dogs — Tucker and Tigger. The students learned about how a dog’s sense of smell guides it, much more than any other sense.

The students learned important facts about approaching dogs, including the necessity of asking an owner before reaching out to pet their dog. After the quick tutorial, the students were given the opportunity to meet the dogs up close and personal.

Click here to view all the photos from Thursday’s excursion.

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