Turnbull-Discovery Partnership

Discovery Students Learn and Help and Refuge Naturalists Help and Learn

For one Friday afternoon each month during the 1999/2000 school year, thirty 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from Discovery School have journeyed to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Cheney, WA. to observe, discover, journal, hike, study, plant, restore, and have fun in the refuge classroom outdoors. Students have shared their observations with the Refuge staff and Advisory Board each month through their "Wildlife Moosepaper".

 Here is a link to the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.



October: What is a Riparian habitat and what are Channel Scablands?


I saw a catfish in the wetlands when Glen took us on a hike. It was about thirty feet away from the cattails, close to the ant hill, swimming with all the other fish.

I looked back and saw a flock of red wing blackbirds dashing across the cattails at four miles an h our. Soon, they were gone. Later, we started to walk back and I saw more blackbirds.

I noticed that there were ducks dabbling for food. When they dabbled, their little white tails stuck up into the air like flags. I was almost halfway across the bridge when I saw a duck catch something (I think it was a fish) and few out of distance.

I looked down and saw a queen ant. It was very big. . . .like a bumble bee. It looked like it had a stinger. When the other group went with Glen, they saw a KingFisher. They said it was "neat" and big.

Chris H.

Memories of Turnbull
-hiking with Glen in the wetlands -seeing a kingfisher -the ant hill by the wetlands -my spot -the dabbling mallards -the termite log that was almost Andrew's spot -the cattails -the fork in the road -coyote scat with fur and rosebush seeds in it -the soil washed ash -the very big pine forest -birds chirping -long grasses -Mike telling of the Montana floods, two-hundred feet deep where we stood -all the wildlife -people that worked there: Glen, Mike, Sandy, Tasha, Kathleen Thanks Turnbull Allen B.

November: Planting trees to restore stream banks

Students participated in a service project to restore the Riparian area. Right now the only things growing along the stream are Reed Canary grass and cattails. Reed Canary grass is not native to this area. It was brought in by farmers and ranchers in the early 1900's for grazing cattle. We planted four kinds of trees:

All these trees are native and well suited to stream habitat.


Marsh Sounds "Thoooomp, thoooomp" goes a grasshopper. "Tweet! Tweet!" goes a bird. "Cool! Cool!" go the kids, when we are at Turnbull. When I walk I feel my ffeet sink into the soil. But, wait. What I find is a surprise. . . . Soooooo quiet. All I hear is that grasshopper. That makes me mad.
by Taylor Z.
November in Turnbull

In this new spot, I sit on moss. There's an owl pellet close by.

I see lots of other plants like the four leaf clover. Now, it only has three leaves, but, it might grow a fourth.

The ground is moist. When I sit on the moss for a long time, my pants get damp. Right by where I'm sitting there's a baby tree. It will grow and turn into a big pine. That's awhile, though, when it grows up.

I hope that it was a great horned owl that spit that pellet for me. I kind-of hope it hasn't eaten anything else or has moved on. Maybe, someday, the owl will have a baby and let me pet it - hold it. But I doubt it.

by Ellen

December: Winter Tree Identification/ Stream Studies

How do you identify trees when there are no leaves? You look at the bark and you look at the pattern of branches and leaf scars (where leaves used to be). Are the branches or leaf scars in opposite or alternate pattern? Is the bark smooth or rough? Are there thorns?

In addition to planting the trees along the stream, the Refuge is conducting an experiment to see what planting conditions will be best to help the trees survive. The three conditions are: 1) trees enclosed in a 8 foot fenced area; 2) trees sheathed with plastic and ringed with old carpet to block out the Reed Canary grass, and 3) trees just plain. The three conditions were to prevent excessive browsing by deer, moose, beaver and porcupine. When we checked the trees in December and January, evidence of deer nipping off the tender ends of our trees (just plain) except for the Hawthorne trees,was seen.

January: Animal Tracking on Snowshoes

MoosepaperDiscovery kids invaded Turnbull's quiet, winter terrain with unleashed abandon this month. Third graders hiked with Glenn into the back country to investigate a frozen lake and identify animal trans along the way. Fourth and Fifth graders visited a week later and were fortunate enough to have fresh snow for snowshoeing. Teachers, parents, Turnbull staff and kids shared a great day at the Refuge. Later, in the classroom, these memories found their way into poetry. Enjoy. We did.

Silvery snow crystals Glisten and crunch around you. In the cold. Tyler
We saw tracks In the deep wet snow. Then we stopped. Ross
Organized snowshoers quickly preparing, cheerful hikers carefully tracking, snowproof students snowball throwing, Sneaky Jerry evilly plotting, Snow-covered Jarred miserably shivering, Daring Michelle safely jumping, Crazy kids wildly tossing, Fearful adults rapidly dodging, Stuffed animals blankly staring, Smiling Steph homework giving. by Laurel
Metal snowshoes quickly gliding, Raccoon tracks deeply dug, Hungry coyote slowly trotting, Powdery snow gently blowing, Soft snowballs swiftly flying, Swift Seth rapidly jumping, Mud-covered nest vacantly awaiting, Colorful Magpies slowly arriving, Silent creek not running, Beautiful day abruptly ending. by Kennedy

Discovery Index
Back to Classroom Activities
Search Tools for students
Information about the School
Send comments Discovery SchoolStudents
copyright (c) 2000, Lorna Kropp.
Discovery School.
All rights reserved.
March 15, 2000