With a full mug of coffee in hand we took Mr. Holgate, the new Upper School Director, out to the Crocker Conservancy this morning. We hiked up the nature trail to check in on the wildflower meadow. Curious to see the effects of the controlled burn from last December, it was interesting to observe that so much of the tall grass had already returned. In many areas the grass was already close to six feet in height and as green as last summer. The wildflowers, however, have not yet returned in abundance.

In the picture below, you will see meadow as it looked this morning (left), as it looked to kindergarten on a hike in May of this spring (center), and as it looked in January after the burn (right).

Learn more about the benefits of the controlled burn below.

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Controlled Burn:

In early December Powhatan School received a visit from the Virginia Department of Forestry to conduct what is known as a Controlled Burn. The team from the Department of Forestry used their expertise not only to burn the entire meadow, but also to share with students the process and benefits of the burn. Take a minute to view the video above to learn more about the impact to the meadow of the Controlled Burn.

Controlled Burn Video:

The Crocker Conservancy:

At Powhatan, students have easy access to the outdoors and are using our campus, including the addition of the Crocker Conservancy, to map trails, read or write nature poems, adopt trees and square meters for observation of changes, record data in journals, run and walk the trails, and raise trout for release in the stream. We are continually using the lens of NEAL (Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning) as we create, amend, and reflect upon our curriculum in all areas. The Crocker Conservancy is the 47-acres located in the back of our campus that allows for broaden into wetland habitats, warm season grass and wild flower fields and hardwood forests. What a wonderful learning venue for our students and faculty and it is just a step beyond our classroom doors. Many schools much travel hours to enjoy this type of resource, we simply walk past the playground.

An example of a NEAL activity is this fourth grade project focused on native and invasive plants in and around the meadow:


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Learn More:

Want to learn more about a Controlled Burn? Click on this link to visit the North Carolina State Cooperative Extension education page and learn about the history and benefits of a Controlled Burn!