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Lake Ecosystems

This is our most popular program. Participants use nets and buckets to collect and identify (using a dichotomous key) bio-indicators and help to calculate the biological index of the lake. Through in-depth explorations we will gain insights into the vital functions that freshwater ecosystems provide. We will also identify producers, consumers and decomposer as we explore the various food chains found in the lake.

6.L.2.1, 6.L.2.3

Ex.7.L.1, Ex.7.L.1.2, Ex.7.L.1.3, Ex.7.L.2, Ex.7.L.2.1, Ex.7.L.2.2 

8.E.1.4, 8.L.3.1, 8.L.3.2, Ex.8.L.3, Ex.8.L.3.1, Ex.8.L.3.2

Compost Up-close

At Chestnut Ridge we try to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and one way we do this is by composting our food waste. Students will visit our compost bins; get an up-close look at who’s at work in there. We’ll learn what goes in a compost bin (and what doesn’t), the role of temperature in composting, and how compost helps gardens, plants, and the planet. We will collect and identify producers, consumers and decomposers as we view the ecosystem that exists in the compost bin. Take home instructions for how to start your own compost at home or school

6.L.2, 6.L.2.3, Ex.6.L.3.1, Ex.6.L.3.2

Ex.7.L.1, Ex.7.L.1.2, Ex.7.L.1.3, Ex.7.L.2, Ex.7.L.2.1, Ex.7.L.2.2

8.L.3.2, 8.L.3.3


Did you know that North Carolina has more species of salamanders then anywhere else in the United States? In this program we focus on reptiles and amphibians. Students will meet (and possibly touch) different species of reptiles and amphibians most of which can be found right here in North Carolina!  Students will learn about the importance of these animals as bio-indicators, their role in the food web and why we need to protect them.

6.L.2.3, Ex.6.L.3.1, Ex.6.L.3.2

Ex.7.L.1, Ex.7.L.1.2, Ex.7.L.1.3, Ex.7.L.2, Ex.7.L.2.1, Ex.7.L.2.2

8.L.3.1, 8.L.3.2, 8.L.3.3, Ex.8.L.3, Ex.8.L.3.1, Ex.8.L.3.2

Force and Motion

Inertia, Acceleration Action/reaction…On my! Explore Newton’s Laws of Motion and discover the power of gravity, friction & air resistance. Notice the transfer of energy as you propel marshmallows with a catapult you’ve created.  Then head to the lake to see how far Chestnut Ridges’ trebuchet can hurl a rock!

7.P.1, 7.P.1.1, 7.P.1.2, Ex.7.P.1, Ex.7.P.1.1, Ex.7.P.1.2, Ex.7.P.1.3

7.P.2, 7.P.2.1, 7.P.2.2

Owl Pellets

In case you are wondering what an owl pellet is, it is the non-digestible part of the prey that the owl must regurgitate! Learn about the role and interdependence of predator and prey animals in our forest ecosystem. Discover the special adaptations that owls possess that allow them to be such efficient hunters. Students will dissect an owl pellet to identify skeletal remains of rodents and other animals.

Ex.7.L.1, Ex.7.L.1.2, Ex.7.L.1.3

8.L.3.1, 8.L.3.2, 8.L.3.3, Ex.8.L.3, Ex.8.L.3.1, Ex.8.L.3.2 

Predator / Prey

The predator and prey relationship encompasses concepts such as survival of the fittest, adaptations, the fundamental differences between animals and relationships within an ecosystem. We’ll meet different predator and prey animals then learn firsthand about the different reactions of prey as they are being hunted, and the variables that can change the outcome of a hunt as we become predators and prey and play a game.

Ex.7.L.1, Ex.7.L.1.2, Ex.7.L.1.3, Ex.7.L.2, Ex.7.L.2.1, Ex.7.L.2.2

8.L.3.1, 8.L.3.2, 8.L.3.3, Ex.8.L.3, Ex.8.L.3.1, Ex.8.L.3.2

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