Students to garden, learn in zoo service project

October 14, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Jennifer Rolf wants to make a lasting contribution to the Baltimore Zoo, and she will get her chance when she and 49

other Solley Elementary School students take a field trip to the zoo to plant 250 spring bulbs and reseed part of the lawn.

They will also learn about careers at the zoo and tree-climbing safety during the trip, which will fulfill the county Board of Education's recommendation that the students complete a service project.

"We want to teach them that it's not always about getting something. That you can do something and feel good about yourself for doing it," said Holly Beers, Jennifer's fourth-grade teacher.

Mrs. Beers said the Oct. 26 trip will bring together lessons on animals and conservation being studied by her class and the fifth-grade class taught by Lydia Battle.

For Jennifer, planting the bulbs means she will always have a piece of the zoo.

"When I grow up, I'll be able to say I planted them," said the 9-year-old.

The students will plant daffodils beneath hemlock trees near the kodiak bears' cages and also seed a hill overlooking the main entrance.

Zoo staff members will be on hand to help and to teach the students about the plants, said Steve Linda, the zoo's acting horticulture curator.

"Every plant has a strategy for survival," Mr. Linda said, adding that bulbs, which usually are found under the shade of trees in the forest, have an interesting approach.

"Their strategy is, 'I'll just stay under the ground here all year, and then in the spring, when the trees are still naked, I'll have my turn to get some light,'" Mr. Linda said.

In addition to teaching the students about conservation, Mrs. Beers said, she also has tried to make her students appreciate the life of plants and animals.

"I don't know what they watch on TV, but a lot of these kids, when they see an animal, their first thought is, 'Let's kill it.' We try to tell them, 'No. You need to have respect for animals that share our planet,' " she said.

The fourth- and fifth-graders also have been learning about pollution and how to prevent it through recycling and planting trees.

Eight-year-old Eric Simms, who said he has planted bushes and flowers before, knows how the new flowers will help the environment.

"It's going to let the animals breathe and clean up the air," he said.

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