RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield School District’s fifth- and sixth-graders returned to outdoor learning this week with the new Mini-Cispus program. Cispus camp was delayed for two years due to COVID restrictions. This year’s alternate program brought the entire fifth- and sixth-grade classes to Whipple Creek Regional Park.
Mini-Cispus is a scaled-down version of the same classes students typically experience at Cispus Outdoor School. Over two days of classes, students circulated through several learning stations. They hiked throughout Whipple Creek Regional Park to study the lifecycle of salmon, test creek water for oxygen and test the pH levels in soil. During their hikes, they did a natural scavenger hunt, finding specific plants and items. They created art based on their experiences on the trails, wrote nature-related poems, and listened to stories.
Sixth-grade teacher Laurie Pritchard spent more than 20 years leading the Cispus Outdoor School program, and she was glad to be outside again with her students. “It’s fun having the kids back out in nature’s classroom,” she said. “It’s a wonderful modification to the program, considering everything that these kids have been through the last couple of years.”