WEST RUTLAND—On Thursday morning, June 1, West Rutland’s fifth-graders participated in Rutland County Audubon’s second Marsh Education Day at the West Rutland Marsh. Volunteers from Audubon manned four stations that the students rotated through every 30 minutes. The stations focused on four areas: the marsh itself (history, habitat and its role as a “nursery” for all kinds of wildlife, from water bugs to birds and mammals) taught by Roy Pilcher; plants and their role in the provision of food for birds and other flying things, taught by Sue and Marv Elliott (can you spell “phragmite”?); wetland water inhabitants taught by MaryLou Johnson; and birds, taught by Sue Wetmore.
The water critters were undoubtedly the favorite — kids got to try out a microscope and nets. A close second was the bird station, where the kids learned how to use binoculars and saw quite a few interesting birds up close, including a Baltimore oriole, yellow warblers, kingbirds, and two black-headed vultures. The latter caused a bit of excitement because this was the first time they have been spotted in Rutland County. (They, like a lot of other birds, are extending their range northward due to climate change.) So the kids got in on a bit of bird history in addition to learning about the precious natural resource they have in their own backyard—the West Rutland Marsh.
A group of fifth-graders use binoculars to look for birds at West Rutland Marsh.