Ebersole Center in all seasons

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Popular Educational Course Descriptions:

Environmental Education  |  Group Building  |  Outdoor Education/ Recreation

Environmental Education:
  • Water Ecology (Pond Study):  Students visit pristine Jackson Lake, search for and sample plants, animals and water.  Specimens are then taken back to the classroom for further exploration using magnification.  Discussion includes identification, classification, adaptations, and interdependence of organisms (food web), human impact on aquatics, water quality, water cycle, and watersheds.
  • BirdingStudents study bird behavior and adaptations using bird study skins, binocular use and care, Bird habitat, field guide use and conclude with a hike on Ebersole trails looking for birds and bird signs.
  • Owl StudyStudents study native Michigan owls and learn identification by sight, sound and habitat.  Discussion includes owl's place in a food web, owl adaptations, human impact on owls and habitat destruction.  Students also dissect owl pellets to encourage discussion about food webs, adaptations and predator-prey relationships.  There is a small per pellet charge for owl pellets.
  • Adaptations:  Students compare first-hand the different parts of plants and animals and how physical and behavioral characteristics help them survive in their habitat.  Students are encourages to think independently as they observe these characteristics while exploring Ebersole Center ecosystems.
  • Forest Ecology:  Using the Center's beech and maple hardwood forest, students will look at the different stages in a tree's life-cycle from seed to decomposition.  By comparing these different stages first-hand students have a greater understanding of how trees fit into the food web and why other plants and animals are found in the forest.
  • Ecosystem Study Students explore the different Ecosystems found at Ebersole Center and study what makes each ecosystem unique.  Discussion includes movement of animals from one ecosystem to another in order to acquire all the animals needs, Interdependence of plants and animals, and interesting organism adaptations.

Group Building:
  • Adventureland:  Students safely work through a series of obstacles geared towards working as a group and encouraging one another.  Adventureland is geared towards 1st- 4th graders
  • Teams Course/ Challenge Course:  Participants utilize cooperation, communication, and problem solving skills to safely achieve a series of challenges.  Teamwork, personal confidence, resourcefulness, physical limitations and group dynamics are also stressed.  Teams and Challenge Courses are beneficial and suitable for groups 4th grade through adult.  Ebersole Naturalists can also create a "custom" team building experience off-site utilizing portable equipment.
  • Survival Skills:  Students are encouraged to think about how they would survive if stranded in the wilderness.  Discussion includes necessities for life.  Students then work in groups to build debris huts (shelters), purify water, and build small campfires.  This course is often linked with Orienteering (below).
  • Orienteering:  Discussion includes various ways to orient yourself in relation to the rest of the world and how to find your way out of the woods.  Students then learn how to correctly use a compass and how to estimate walking distances.  Students then work in groups to find their way through a series of points in the woods using compass coordinates and walking distances.  This course is often linked with Survival Skills (above).
  • Half-Day Canoe Trip: Groups can plan an off-site, half-day canoe trip in order to hone skills learned while canoeing on Jackson Lake.  Center canoes are trailered to a lake a few miles from Ebersole, while students are transported by the center bus.  Students then paddle in a group through a series of lakes and channels and are required to safely exit, portage and launch canoes as well as maneuvering through a variety of waterways.  Teamwork is required to successfully complete the trip.  There is an additional mileage charge for this trip.

Outdoor Education/ Recreation:
  • Canoeing:  Safety is stressed as students learn the basics of canoe technique and etiquette.  Students learn the parts of the canoe, several canoe strokes, how to enter and exit a canoe, proper paddle use and importance of life jackets.  Students explore the quiet waters of Jackson Lake practicing what they have learned.  Canoeing instructors must be certified lifeguards (center Naturalists have this certification).  This course is also a prerequisite for groups wishing to participate in the Half-Day Canoe trip.
  • Archery: Students learn to safely handle and properly use bow, arrows and other archery equipment.  Safety and accuracy are stressed.  Students improve their skills by taking turns practicing shooting at paper targets.
  • Fishing: Students learn basic fish terminology and morphology as well as discuss fish adaptations and fishing safety.  Students learn to safely bait their own hooks and spend time trying to catch "the big one" from Jackson Lake.  Caught fish are identified by species and returned to the lake.  Groups supply their own bait or for an additional charge Ebersole can supply bait (must be ordered in advance). 
  • Yankee Springs Hike:  Students travel by bus to Yankee Springs State Recreation area (about 15 minutes).  At the Park, they will hike on a variety of terrain and discuss history of the area, both prehistoric (glaciers) as well as Native American times and post settlement times.  Students learn about plants and animals found here and also hike around "Devil's Soupbowl", a deep glacial depression.  There is a small mileage charge for this trip.
  • Lake Michigan Trip:  Groups travel by bus to Saugatuck State Park on Lake Michigan (approximately 1 hour).  At the park, they hike through a series of dunes while discussing history of the area, dune formation, plants and animals in the area, Lake Michigan formation, and the ways that humans are affecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem.  The finale of the hike is a first hand visit to the lake.  During warmer weather, students are encouraged to touch the water or wade along the shore and play in the sand on the beach.  There is an additional mileage charge for this trip.
  • Fur Trading:  This course also utilizes Michigan history and Group Building.  Discussion includes Michigan Native American way of life before Europeans arrives as compared to afterwards.  Students are encouraged to "think like a Native American" and attempt to barter for other items.  The Natives (students) are given furs that they then try to trade with a French fur trader (the teacher) for items they might want or need.
  • Cross Country Skiing:  Students get the opportunity to experience a winter wonderland at Ebersole by exploring snow-covered wilderness trails.  Students learn the history of Nordic skiing, discuss safety and equipment care followed by proper use and technique.  Students practice skiing in open areas and finally explore the Ebersole Ski trail.
  • Snowshoeing: Students learn the history of snowshoes and the physics behind their design.  Also discussed are variations in snowshoe shape and materials.  Discussion includes proper care of equipment and snowshoe technique while students explore a variety of terrain at Ebersole.

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  Ebersole Environmental Education and Conference Center
3400 2nd Street, Wayland, Michigan 49348
517-755-5000    or    269-792-6294
web: ebersole.lansingschools.net
email: ebersole@lansingschools.net
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Lansing School DistrictVernon D. Ebersole Environmental Education and Conference Center is owned and operated by Lansing Public School District
Copyright © 2005 Lansing School District. All rights reserved.