The class of 2029 went on their first field trip of the year last week, where they spent the day out in the field BEMPing and working on their year-long service learning project about food insecurity.
For half of the day, the 6th-grade students participated in their first BEMP (Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Project) field trip. They all received a classroom orientation to BEMPing before they ventured out into the bosque where they gathered data on precipitation, groundwater level, and leaf litter. While they were in the field, they also learned how to use a map to navigate within the BEMP site, learned to record data and observe nature, and took part in a land acknowledgment.
The students spent the other half of the day volunteering at ECHO Food Bank. ECHO Food Bank provides monthly nutritious food, recipes, basic nutrition information, and referrals to other programs for income-qualified, New Mexico resident seniors 60 years old and up. Bosque School has worked with the food bank for several years, and it is always a rewarding experience for the students. While they were there, the 6th graders helped the food bank staff pack boxes of food for seniors and passed out groceries to clients at the drive-through. They also called clients to remind them of upcoming food bank events.
Sixth-grade teachers, Sky Jenkins and Hayley Pedrick, enjoyed working with the students as they volunteered, and they felt as though the students learned a lot from the experience. “I know that they were surprised by how physically hard it was to prepare and pack the boxes,” Ms. Pedrick said. “They were surprised by how large the space was and by the quantities of the food being distributed. They also learned about how seniors that are struggling financially, especially as most retire, have to make hard decisions, and sometimes medicine or rent comes before food. Ms. Jenkins spoke to them a lot about these issues.”
This year, the 6th graders will be focusing on food insecurity for their service learning project, and their teachers hope that this year-long project will help them become compassionate leaders and teach them the importance of service and philanthropy. Ms. Jenkins says she loves seeing the enthusiasm and joy the students exhibit both during and after the visit, and she hopes they earn an appreciation for “the power of contributing to and interacting with the larger community and the importance of the work being done at Echo Food Bank.”
For Ms. Pedrick, the highlight of the trip was seeing how well the students worked with each other and with the food bank staff. “Seeing them take in the purpose of ECHO, the size of the space, and to see new faces emerge as leaders were some of my favorite parts,” she said. “In other words, I got to see kids who maybe don't volunteer or take leadership roles in my English class step in to be great task managers and problem solvers.”
We look forward to hearing more about the 6th-grade class as they continue to work on both their BEMP and service learning projects throughout the year!