Iowa Youth Writing Project’s program connects students to environment

At the edge of the pond at Cangleska Wakan in Solon, a group of fifth-graders huddled around a bucket, peering at the different critters and shells they’d scooped from the water.

Moments earlier, another student found success when he dipped his net into the pond.

“I got a tadpole,” he shouted, carrying his find back to his bucket.

The students were from Alexander Elementary in Iowa City, tasked with exploring the wetlands on a field trip in early May.

Before the activity, a Johnson County Conservation educator asked students what they might find in the wetland.

“An alligator.”

“Snakes.”

“Turtles.”

“Trash.”

A couple of falls into the shallow water and one bucket of 23 tadpoles later, the children sat on the grass and pulled out notebooks.

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