Freshman field trip to nature center


Photos used with permission by Debra White-Dilworth

Freshmen participate in activity during their field trip to Oregon Ridge Nature Center

Stella Muzin, Guest Writer

While the sophomore and junior classes were huddled over their PSAT scantrons on Oct. 13, the freshmen were out in the beauty of the Oregon Ridge Nature Center in Cockeysville, Maryland, 15 miles north of Baltimore. 

The trip was organized by art and design teacher Benjamin Tellie with the help of freshmen biology teacher Melissa Andrew. 

“Andrew and I wanted to plan a wonderful day together with some environmental science programming, and I thought of Oregon Ridge Nature Center because it’s been a really meaningful site for me and my son during the pandemic,” Tellie said. “I like the fact that it was a little more interdisciplinary, that it connects to Ms. Andrew’s biology curriculum in terms of the fact that the students were going through scientific observation and learning how to think like a scientist.” 

Andrew wanted to help plan a trip where students would be able to learn about biology so that she could connect it to her classroom. On the trip, the freshmen were able to observe all that Oregon Ridge has to offer such as animals, plants and creeks. Additionally, they were able to explore how temperature affects the different types of bacteria in pond water. 

“Students made observations and looked at organisms under the microscope and things like that, so I think it just furthered their knowledge of being able to make observations in nature and then relating them to science,” Andrew said. 

But learning was not the only goal for the field trip. Building a strong freshman class community was especially important since the Class of 2025 was unable to go on the annual eighth-grade Atlanta trip due to the pandemic. This is the second field trip the freshman class has had this year after their trip to Sandy Springs adventure park. 

Beth Keiser, a volunteer at Oregon Ridge Nature Center,  says that she comes to the park because it is so close to her home and she has noticed that people are very happy there.

“During the COVID-19 period, we had a lot of people coming here to the park, and it just made us feel really good,” Keiser said. “I really enjoy volunteering and guiding with all of these amazing people. It’s super fun because everyone has different observations.” 

One of the highlights of the trip for some students was watching a demonstration on how different materials can pollute the water and the environment. 

“I really enjoyed this part of the trip because it was just interesting to see what pollution can do to a body of water,” freshman Adam Bachrach said. 

Other students, including freshman Cati Werbin, thought the scavenger hunt was the best part of the trip. In the scavenger hunt, students were given different clues to help explore the nature center.

“I enjoyed it because I’m a competitive person, and so I like getting on my competitive side. My group won, which was really exciting,” Werbin said. “I definitely bonded with my Kehillah group, and I think this was one of the better field trips CESJDS has planned.”