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Clear Spring sixth-graders clean up Outdoor Education Center

May 20, 2008|By JANET HEIM

CLEAR SPRING -- The sun was shining and there was a light breeze, making it a perfect day to be outside.

About 150 Clear Spring Middle School sixth-graders agreed that spending the day working at Fairview Outdoor Education Center topped being in the classroom, despite the gnats who decided to join them.

Sixth-grade science teacher Craig Bathgate coordinated the effort earlier this month at the outdoor school near Clear Spring. He said he offered several project ideas to students, who, with fond memories of their almost weeklong fifth-grade experience at Fairview, chose that venue.

"They wanted to give back to the experience they had last year," Bathgate said.

No school buses were required for transportation, as the students and their teachers were able to walk from the middle school to Fairview without leaving school property.

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The work day was designed to fulfill the students' requirement to earn 15 Student Service Learning hours of preparation, action and reflection through their science curriculum.

"The kids are real pumped up. They came to school with work gloves, rakes and shovels," Bathgate said.

Students planted, raked, mulched, spread gravel on hiking trails, cleaned up campsite areas and painted.

"It's a neat feeling to see the kids doing something environmentally related. At the same time, it benefits them because they earn student service hours. It's a win-win," said Jeremy Jakoby, principal at Clear Spring Middle.

A kid-friendly lunch of grilled hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, chips and cookies satisfied the appetites of the young workers.

Student Chris McKenzie said he didn't mind the hard work, especially since it meant getting out of school.

"We gotta do community service," he said.

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