- On December 4, 2019
The mission of BACT’s Conservation@School is to provide the opportunity for high school students to engage in the environment through a variety of experiences including classroom programs, hands-on fieldwork, career exploration, internships, and extracurricular activities. Our Conservation@School coordinator, Navraaz Basati(Raaz) has been busy this fall at Barrington High School inspiring our future environmental stewards.
In September, Raaz presented to the Horticultural Classes on BACT’s efforts to establish and preserve Monarch habitat. The Monarch waystations were assessed around the High School for overall health and maintenance.
Raaz and BACT’s Executive Director of Conservation, Susan Lenz, worked with Environmental Science students in nearby Flint Creek They assessed the health of the stream by collecting macroinvertebrates and taking samples of the water to determine chemical make up.
Raaz visited Pederson Preserve with students to identify four different native wildflower plants to collect seeds from. Each class collected bags of seeds from these plants which were spread at BACT’s nearby Far Field Preserve.
In October, Raaz coordinated a field trip for the Horticultural Studies class to nearby SmartFarm. The students were led through four conservation based activities throughout SmartFarm. The activities included: Collecting soil samples for heavy metals testing conducted by the University of Illinois Agriculture Extension Program, determining compaction levels in what were once prairie fields, identifying native trees on the property, and determining which species in the conservation area were invasive.
Here is what the teachers had to say about the field trip to Smart Farm:
“Thanks for the trip. It went great. The kids were talking about it all day. They learned a lot and were bringing things up during our soil discussion.” John Ardente (BHS Horticulture teacher)
“We just wanted to take a minute to THANK YOU for creating such a valuable hands-on experience for the horticultural students at Smart Farm…the station topics were perfect! The real life application to our soil curriculum was extremely valuable for our students.” Caroline Milne(BHS Biology teacher)
In November, we invited BACT member Virginia Brown, a Soil Scientist and Hydrologist, to come and speak to the Horticultural Studies students about her profession and how it ties into local conservation efforts. The presentation discussed the differences in soil and the effect each soil type has on native plants as well as business development within an area. Virginia shared her vast experience as a Soil Scientist and why it is important to implement conservation efforts and methods into reestablishing areas once an industry has taken over the area such as solar farms and oil pipelines.