Field Trips Back to the Classroom: SCA Manchester, NH

FIELD TRIPS ARE OFTEN the highlight of any student’s day, but many schools can no longer afford them. So, SCA takes the field trip back to the classroom. In Manchester, NH, intern Scott Baumwald enters a fourth grade class with a small sandbox, a watering can, and a large stone covered in mud. He instructs one student to roll the rock while another showers it with water. The stone leaves a mix of soil and pebbles in its path, “just like the glaciers, thousands of years ago,” Scott explains. As other pupils blow on the sand to illustrate erosion, he asks what the puddle in the corner of the sandbox might represent. One boy’s eyes widen as his right hand shoots high the air. “A lake!” he shouts.

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This is the sort of imaginative, interactive lesson that SCA interns have provided to every Manchester fourth grader since 1994—an entire generation of school children, more than 12,000 students in all. ”There is no doubt that my kids learn from the lessons,” says Carolyn Tartsa, a teacher at Webster Elementary, “but more importantly, the SCA members are role models in the truest sense—young persons the children can respect, admire, and aspire to be.” 

SCA interns also host an after-class servicelearning program for high school students. Those who do well go on to assist their instructors when the SCA NH Corps turns to repairing trails and campgrounds in state parks over the summer. The more these teen learn, the more they do: serving in SCA internships, majoring in environmental studies, and entering in green careers.

“What you’re seeing here is a microcosm of the SCA program continuum,” says intern Tyler Laue. “We’re putting these students on a path to lifelong stewardship.”