2022 marks the 25th year that the Hansville Greenway has partnered with the North Kitsap School District. Since the inception of the program, more than 8,000 students have participated. Each spring over 400 fourth-grade students from the District’s elementary schools spend a morning of education and exploration in the Greenway. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we have been unable to hold this program for the last 2 years. We hope we can resume this spring.
The program was implemented by the District in 1997 with funding provided by Kitsap Land Trust to help develop in students an immediate awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment, and to promote habits, skills, and attitudes which will lead to the lifelong appreciation and preservation of our natural environment. A group of teachers developed a teaching kit for the program which is available to all fourth grade teachers year round. As funding tightened over the years the individual schools had to budget for the program. In 2008, to help maintain the field trips, the Hansville Greenway Association received a grant from an anonymous donor to fund bus transportation for approximately ten years. Without a new source of funding, this grant will only last through the 2016-17 school year.
Students spend 20 minutes at each of three sites, the Meadow, Forest, and Pond. At each site a volunteer naturalist, professional scientist, or technician provides information about the plants, animals, and ecology of the site. After returning to the classroom, the students reflect on their Greenway experience in a variety of ways including artwork, essays, hallway murals, and more in depth study.
The Greenway field trip provides many of the 4th graders with their first on-site opportunity to learn about and experience these ecosystems. Combined with their related classroom learning activities the field trip can make this study of ecosystems a memorable foundation for a future interest and study of the natural world and encourage positive stewardship of the environment, including Puget Sound. Specifically, study of the pond ecosystem highlights the connection of all small water bodies to the quality of water we drink, the health of the lakes where we swim, and the health of Puget Sound.
This program has been suspended the last 3 years due to the pandemic. We sure hope to start up again in 2023.