Stage Nature Center provides natural science education to Troy students

By: Sarah Wright | Troy Times | Published May 9, 2024

 Morse Elementary School students enjoy nature exhibits.

Morse Elementary School students enjoy nature exhibits.

Photo provided by the Troy Nature Society


TROY — Third graders from Morse Elementary and Troy Union Elementary schools recently were able to learn about animal science at the Stage Nature Center through a grant from the Rotary Club of Troy and the Troy Community Foundation.

“The Troy Nature Society is very grateful for the kind support of these two organizations and their commitment to underwrite vital educational programs for Troy students,” Carla Reeb, the Troy Nature Society’s executive director, said in a press release.

The Stage Nature Center is a 100-acre preserve located in Troy that provides a variety of  educational nature and science programs supported by the nonprofit Troy Nature Society. The society’s mission is to provide resources and education to inspire the appreciation and preservation of nature.

On May 2, the students participated in the Animal Adaptations program, one of the programs offered by the society at the center. This program allows elementary students to explore the trail and learn about the ways animals can adapt to their surroundings in order to survive, as well as see the nature center’s live animal ambassadors — an owl and a reptile — in person.

The Rotary Club of Troy and the Troy Community Foundation contributed a total of around $4,000 in grants in order for around 210 students to participate in this field trip. The grant was originally going to cover one third grade, but was recently changed to accommodate the rest of the students.

“The Nature Center actually got the grant for us,” Nancy Mueller, a third grade teacher at Morse Elementary, said in an email. “I had asked about keeping the costs low since we try to do only one field trip a year that costs parents money. I was going to contact our PTO to help supplement with funds to visit the nature center. She told me she would put my name down so she could call me if they had a sponsor.”

The grant covered $4.50 per kid, plus an extra 50 cents to see live animals. It also paid for the bus trip to and from the center.

“The funding covers all expenses, making it cost-free to the school and student families,” Mahendra Kenkre, a representative from the Rotary Club, said in an email. “Spring is a great month for field trips, and the timing of it comes right after the M-STEP tests that students have been taking in April. We hope this adds more excitement to the program.”

The field trip took place in the morning, and the students were separated into groups that allowed some of them to walk the trail and see the animals at different times during their visit, before returning to school for lunch.

The Rotary Club is also looking into providing aid for similar educational experiences.

“Looking forward, I am working on a similar initiative for the next school year, raising funds for students to visit Troy Historic Village,” Kenkre said in an email.

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