APES Classes Host Prairie Tour for Edison Students

Edison elementary students sketch a mural of wild plants they identified at the Prairie site.

By Zubair Muhammad, Staff Writer/Blogger

West’s AP Environmental Science classes hosted various activities around the field restoration site for students of Edison Elementary School on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

The prairie tours served as an educational opportunity for seniors to understand ecology concepts through teaching the students.

“The purpose of the prairie tours is [that] when you know something and understand something and get to teach something, then you truly understand the concept. I think it’s a great opportunity for the seniors to take something that is complex — like Illinois Prairie ecology — and be able to teach it to a fourth grader.” APES teacher Susan Schram said.

According to Schram, the activities held in the prairie are also a good mode of outreach to start teaching the younger generation about today’s environmental problems.

“The other main reason for having the prairie tours is to have an outreach program to the community, and educating is always the best way to inform people about environmental endeavors. It definitely starts with our own home: our backyard. We are very lucky to have our own restoration site [the prairie], which won’t be built upon. It’s basically an education tool for experimental learning,” Schram said.

Upon entrance to the prairie, Edison’s fourth graders were divided up into groups of six to eight and assigned one of many stations around the site. Stations included drawing murals, investigating insects in soil, learning about pollination, and many topics the APES classes will cover throughout the school year.

Senior Phoenix-Rose Honeycutt enjoyed teaching kids about her group’s project on bees and pollination.

“My group talked about pollination, mostly bees versus wasps. This ties into environmental science because pollination is important for the environment and without it a lot of plants would not grow,” Honeycutt said. “I liked teaching the little kids and seeing how happy they were when they learned about bees and actually saw butterflies hanging out on the flowers. It was cool.”

In a modern society where most like staying indoors, the tours showcased how important it is to get out and have fun in nature.

“Around Chicago, we spend so much time inside or just in an urban setting. It’s important for kids and adults to get outside and just enjoy nature,” APES teacher Chris Barnett said.