Fonda-Fultonville Seventh-Graders Get Hands-on Environmental Lessons
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today hosted nearly 130 seventh-grade students from Fonda-Fultonville Middle School at the Hale Creek Field Station in Gloversville, Fulton County. The 28th annual Hale Creek Field Day provides a hands-on experience for students to learn about environmental science and natural history. Participating students sample streams, identify fish and invertebrates, explore local forest habitat, and enjoy a day in the outdoors.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "By immersing themselves in the outdoors, students get a better understanding of and appreciation for the environment and New York's natural resources. They also witness first-hand the impact people have on the health of fish and wildlife and what they can do to keep the environment healthy. Sharing experiences like these with New York's young people is one of the ways we are cultivating the next generation of conservationists."
Field Day includes hands-on experience in stream ecology, fish identification, pollutants in fish and wildlife, fish processing for pollutant analysis, amphibian identification and ecology, and forest ecology. In addition, during the day-long event, DEC works with the students to educate them about the impact of invasive species on New York's environment.
DEC established Hale Creek Field Station in 1978 as a multi-disciplinary research facility. Environmental chemists, research scientists, and biologists make up the research team at Hale Creek. Hale Creek's environmental chemistry lab is the only in-state lab that analyzes fish and wildlife for contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals like mercury, and emerging contaminants like polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The facility is located on an 85-acre site that was formerly the Johnstown Fish Hatchery. The property is open to the public and maintains fish ponds and race ways stocked with trout. There are several miles of hiking trails on the property providing an excellent opportunity to explore local forest habitats and view the flora and wildlife.
Funding for student transportation to the event is being provided by New York's Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation through the "Connect Kids to Parks Program."
"New York State's public lands are exceptional places for students to learn memorable lessons about science, the environment and history," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "The Connect Kids to Parks Field Trip Grant program is inspiring a new generation of environmental stewards by expanding opportunities for both children and adults to further connect with nature and engage in hands-on learning in the outdoors."
For more information on programs under DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife and Bureau of Habitat, visit DEC's website.