September 26, 2012. On September 25, over 50 middle school students from St. Louise School came to Glendale Country Club in Bellevue, Wash., for an outdoor "learning lab." Parents, teachers, state and regional golf association officials and environmental groups joined them.
Students tested water quality and soil samples, identified insects from a pond, conducted water measurements in Kelsey Creek, and learned about the life cycle of salmon.
"I liked the bug station! This was awesome," one student said.
For Jeff Glaser, sixth grade teacher, this is the second time he has brought his students to Glendale, and he’s looking forward to bringing them back in the spring. He says that the activities “go great with our Earth Science and Environmental Studies units.” First Green often spreads through word of mouth. For example, two years ago, Glaser attended a field trip as an observer, and then brought his class the following year. This year, Glaser brought Mike Fuerte, a fifth grade teacher, who was evaluating the field trip activities for his class. Fuerte commented, “Great field trip… very informational and engaging.”
The nonprofit First Green hosts and coordinates outdoor “learning labs” at golf courses that allow students to perform hands-on experiments and tests, all within the focus of their schools’ environmental science and/or horticulture curricula. Since the start of the program over 8,000 elementary, middle and high school students in Washington State have participated in the field trips (for further details, visit http://www.thefirstgreen.org
). The Glendale outing is one of several scheduled at Washington golf courses this school year.
First Green emphasizes the environmental and community benefits of golf courses, while introducing potential new golfers to the game in a fun, educational manner. Several First Green “graduates” were so enthused with their experience that they’ve gone on to universities to study Environmental Science, Horticulture, and Landscape or Turf Management.