Students take field trip to Sandy Point Forest

A trip to Sandy Point State Forest in King William County wasn't your typical field trip to a museum and gift shop. On Friday, September 27, sixth graders at Hamilton-Holmes Middle School had an opportunity to get their hands dirty and their feet wet to learn about the importance and the health of the rivers in our county.

Students participated in hands-on activities where they learned about water sampling and monitoring, macro invertebrate identification, tree and plant identification, VA wildlife and habitats, and the importance of wetlands. Students also conducted a scientific investigation while seining for fish and organisms along the river's edge. Two 17th century historical interpreters, one representing a Native American and another representing an English settler, also shared the history and importance of the rivers in King William during the time of Captain John Smith. "The field trip was fun! I liked seining in the water and catching fish. I also saw one of the biggest eagles nest I have ever seen," said 6th grade student, Tanner Lipscomb.

The field trip was organized and sponsored by the Mattaponi-Pamunkey Rivers Association (MPRA), who also defrayed the expenses of the trip, making it free for students. Along with MPRA volunteers, state agencies including the VA Extension Service, Dept. of Conservation and Recreation and State Forestry Department provided the programs and demonstrations for the students. "Our field trip to Sandy Point provided a great opportunity for our students to get outside and learn about how important the rivers in our county are," said Sara Rowe, a 6th grade teacher at HHMS.