Seventh Grade Enjoys Prairie Day at Mustang Creek Ranch

Seventh Grade Enjoys Prairie Day at Mustang Creek Ranch
News Academic

Land. Water. Wildlife. Those are the three pillars of Prairie Day for Fort Worth Country Day seventh graders. The educational day, led by Science Teachers Jimmy Brockway and Christine Spikes, was created nearly 15 years ago for the students to get outside and put into action what they have learned about in class over the course of the school year. In seventh grade, a large part of the science curriculum focuses on animals, plants, ecology and stewardship, and how they are all interconnected. Prairie Day provides students a daylong, outdoor program with hands-on activities. 

This year, seventh graders went to Mustang Creek Ranch in Cresson on May 10, as part of the new pilot program called Land, Water & Wildlife Expeditions (LWWE) through the Texas Wildlife Association. FWCD is just one of five schools in Texas to partner with the TWA for this program. Throughout the rainy day, students rotated through three different tented stations: land, water and wildlife. They spent 75 minutes learning about the aspects of each of the three pillars. 

At the land station, students learned about how drones are used for typography and wildlife tracking, and how to use a topographic map and a compass. During the water portion, Tarrant Regional Water District led the station, which incorporated their stream trailer. They learned  about watersheds and erosion, and used a dip net to find out what’s along the surface, catching insects, frogs and even a couple of snakes. For the wildlife portion, they participated in a scent station, looking at footprints to see what predators are in the area, participating in a quail CSI to  identify predators of quail, and playing a run-for-your-life game. 

“What was fun about the wildlife station is that it tied directly into our Quail Necropsy, also provided by the TWA, that students did in December,” Brockway said. 

After wrapping up for the day, the TWA held a debrief, and the students shared their thoughts on the day, what they learned and their favorite station, water of course. 

This Prairie Day was the off-campus Prairie Day since 2019. Last year’s Prairie Day was hosted on campus with a variety of guest speakers from local environmental preservations and sustainability nonprofits. 

“Even though we are outside of the classroom on campus, it is not the same seeing a creek running through it, being in a tallgrass prairie, hearing all the birds chirping and just being a part of nature,” Brockway said. “The smiles and engagement I saw on the trip is what I love about these days. Students learn from lectures, but they truly remember and make memories from educational days like this. We are so grateful for TWA for choosing us and [TWA partner ] the James Green Wildlife and Conservation Initiative for all they do for the students in North Texas.”

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Seventh Grade Enjoys Prairie Day at Mustang Creek Ranch

Fort Worth Country Day has an institutional commitment to the principles of diversity. In that spirit, the School does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or national origin in admissions, the administration of its educational policies, financial aid, athletics, and other School-administered programs.