Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art visits Mahantongo Elementary School


Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo Parker Hatter, a kindergarten student at Mahantongo Elementary School, cautiously touches the replica of a giant insect during a program held at the Mahantongo Environmental Center pavilion. The program was presented by Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, Millersburg. The students learned all about insects/spiders.

KLINGERSTOWN – Students at the Mahantongo Elementary School were treated to a program presented by the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art.

Last week for four days, Beth Sanders and Santino Lauricella, environmental educators from the center visited the elementary school. Each grade from kindergarten to sixth learned a different topic.

The sessions were held in the newly constructed pavilion that the environmental club worked hard to have constructed adjacent to the school.

The schedule of topics ranged from kindergarten learning about insects/spiders; first grade, habitats; second grade, PA animals; third grade life cycles; fourth grade, water cycle; fifth grade, nature journals and sixth grade, photography.

The students were given an in-depth feel of who Ned Smith was and what Ned Smith did. Beth and Santino shared journal entries written by Smith as well as shared several of his paintings, drawings and books.

On Thursday, the kindergarten class of Mrs. Amy Michaels enjoyed learning about bugs and insects. The class had the opportunity to learn the different parts of several bugs and insects, sing songs and had the opportunity to look through an eye piece that gave them the feel of what it’s like to have compound eyes like bugs.

On Friday, each student in sixth grade was given a camera and they were encouraged to walk around the school’s environmental site to take pictures. Beth and Santino then printed three photos for each student to keep.

The Mahantongo Elementary teachers said they felt the programs were very beneficial and educational.

“First grade played a game called, ‘oh deer,’” said Jaqueline Deibert, teacher. “We learned about how the deer population is effected by the food and water supply and shelter available. The students thought the game was awesome.”

The program was made possible by a grant the Mahantongo Environmental Club received from the Hot Potato 5K run held this past June. Jacqueline Deibert was instrumental in securing the grant.

The fun funds the Tri-Valley Youth Activities Fund, which is committed to benefitting the community and youth activities in the Tri-Valley area. The TVYAF Board of Directors consists of Robert Felty, Chad Klock (Treasurer), David Masser (President), Julie Masser Ballay (Secretary), Ronald Radel, Bonita Schwalm, Terry Stutzman, Randolph Wehry (Vice-President), and Diane Wolfgang. The TVYAF Board has developed a grant program to support activities and events that further the artistic, athletic and service education of Tri-Valley area youth.

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