Galax Elementary Winter Enrichment Week

Galax Intercession Week:  Guides and program directors from BRDC committed the entire week of February 9th through the 13th to a variety of programs designed to fit both the remedial and enrichment categories built into intercession week requirements.  

After nearly a month of planning, BRDC along with other community organizations, teachers and the Galax City Public Schools’ administration office, came together to offer elementary and middle school students a wide array of educational options and opportunities.  BRDC’s role focused on four programs:  National Fishing in Schools, led by Aaron Floyd and Lisa Benish with assistance from Roald Kirby and Mike Floyd; Reading the Blue Ridge, led by Sarah Osborne and Brenda Bonk with assistance from Scott Jackson-Ricketts and teacher’s aid, Theresa Mawyer; Microscope Fun, co-led by Evan Worrell, Scott, Brenda and with assistance from Lauren Peery, William Roberts and Roald; and Blue Ridge Expeditions trip to Grandfather Mountain, led by William and Joyce Roberts.  All of BRDC’s programs were held in the elementary school.

Field trip to Grandfather: On Tuesday, William and Joyce Roberts chaperoned a bus-load of middle school students on a BRDC sponsored field trip to Grandfather Mountain.  In spite of the wind and bone chilling cold, the trip was a success, and we are grateful to the staff at Grandfather and William and Joyce for pulling this off.  

National Fishing in the Schools Program: Aaron Floyd and Lisa Benish led five days of fly fishing lessons. The kids learned about equipment, casting technique, journaling, fly tying and fish species. A full description of this program is located here: Blog text for NFSP in Galax

Reading the Blue Ridge: Sarah Osborne explored the Blue Ridge through literature, reading with a group of kids about a wide variety of subjects .

Microscope Fun: Aside from the art component already discussed, each day had its own theme. We started out with leaf litter and soil critters, digging out specimens to be observed through the scopes.  After a break and further instructions on microscope use, the kids got to view stream macro-invertebrates netted from a tank provided by BRDC.  

Day two began with a discussion on trees:  leaves, twigs, and nuts, while describing the variety of ecosystems different trees help create, including animal associations such as food and shelter. BRDC shared boxes of leaves, seeds and twigs for the kids to examine and use for sketching models.  

Wednesday was devoted to birds and bird parts.  Along with feathers, feet, and skulls we offered several very different bird nests and talked about the materials birds use to build their amazing nests.  Feathers were views through the microscopes, and clay was used to model skulls and other bird bones.  William read a book, Roald played the role of an old mountain man whom William interviewed on avian facts, and for the last hour, owl pellets were brought out for the kids to dissect.  

On Thursday, we reviewed the week, worked on our art and prepared for the field trip to CCSA on Friday.  The kids were asked to pick artifacts through touch only, like a grab bag, and then sketched what they had in hand.   

Emphasis for both our reading and microscope programs revolved around the combination of hands on activities and art.  Only Wednesday proved warm enough for area based field trips, but both the fishing and reading programs were able to get their classes outdoors…barely and bravely.  BRDC partnered with Chestnut Creek School of the Arts for two Friday field  trips based on the art work we had the kids make.  CCSA rolled out the red carpet for our little guests (K-1), with a full tour of the facilities populated by some of the older kids who participated in intercession week at the various classrooms and workshops provided by CCSA.  

BRDC wishes to thank the following for their commitment to making this week a success:

Brenda Bonk, Lisa Benish, William and Joyce Roberts, Lauren Peery, Roald Kirby, the school staff, and central office personnel.