The Wings and Water program is wrapping up for the year at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve with 4th graders from Kaysville Elementary.
They're gathering for a boardwalk tour into the wetlands.
“Are we gonna have fun?” asks Becky Jackson, their guide.
“Alright,” she says. “Let’s go!”
The Nature Conservancy and the Utah State University Botanical Center have hosted 14,000 students over a decade. It’s filled with hands-on lessons about the extraordinary web of life in Nature’s classroom at the edge of the Great Salt Lake.
“Everybody come gather round,” says Jackson, sounding like a pro even though it's her first time leading a class. She’s giving lessons today on everything from why some migrating birds have long beaks to what makes phragmites grass invasive.
“The kids are so curious,” she says, “and anxious to learn.”
Jackson used a magic trick with ropes to show the students how life is intertwined here. And she taught them how to make duck decoys with cattail fronds.
Student Libby Miller was fascinated by the rise and fall of Lake Bonneville, which we call the Great Salt Lake, and a lot of other things she learned.
“What was the coolest thing you saw?”
“Probably like … everything,” she says. “Everything was super cool.”
“We like field trips -- any field trip’s good,” says veteran teacher Ann Young.
“Seeing it -- I mean you can look at a picture and get an idea. But come out here and touch the plants and to see the birds.”
Jackson is wrapping up after the mile-long loop.
“I want to thank you for coming to visit the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve today,” she says. “Who’s had fun?”
“Who wants to come back sometime?”
“Me,” says one student.
“Yeah,” says another.
Jackson’s given the students cattail seeds to spread in the marshes on their way out. They cup the cottony seeds in their hands and say goodbye.