Fourth Grade investigates the Habitat Garden.
Mrs. Graham's & Mrs. Stahovich's students use the natural resources of the habitat garden to enrich their understanding of ecosystems, habitats, fossils, birds, and butterflies.
Mrs. O'Hora, a parent volunteer, took the classes through the garden.
She discussed how each plant and animal depends on one another. The loss of one could mean the loss of another. The fritillary butterfly caterpillar eats the leaves of violets. So violets have been planted in the garden just like the milkweed has been provided for the monarchs. If all the violets or milkweed died, there would be no food for the caterpillars.
In return, the butterflies help pollinate the plants so that they can reproduce.
The class saw that the dill plant had no leaves and they guessed that the swallowtail caterpillars had eaten them. During the tour many butterflies could be seen in the air and on the many plants.
They also learned that most of the plants in the garden are native to Pennsylvania. Many of the plants were also used by Native Americans. Milkweed fibers were used in rope. The Shadblow trees bloom in the spring when the shad are running in the Susquehanna River. This signaled that is was time to go and fish.
During the tour, the class discovered an animal's skeleton behind a bush. They hypothesized that is was a bird due to the shape of the skull and the feathers on the ground.
One of the favorite parts of the tour was the mystery plant. Each student smelled the leaf of a plant in the garden. They then correctly guessed what it was. Sorry we can't tell you here. You must take the tour to find out. ;-)
After the tour, each student received the Pennsylvania Game Commision pamphlet "50 Birds and Mammals of Pennsylvania" by Toni Williams and Ned Smith. The pamphlets were provided by Rep. John E. Barley. Many thanks to Rep. Barley for his support.