Earlier in June, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders from Aylett Country
Day School came to Menokin with their teachers, Mrs. Katona and Ms. Brooks. While here they hiked down to Cat Point Creek and learned about the wildlife which lives in the Rappahannock River Valley Watershed.
After the trail hike we went and visited the house and talked about how buildings are made and what Menokin looked like before it fell down.
Then we ran across the fields back to the Visitor Center, (because, well, that’s how these kids travel) and took a lunch break.
After lunch, the group went into the barn to learn a little about how buildings get made. We talked about the different professions involved in building and what architects do. Building with blocks is a great way for students of all ages to use critical thinking skills, cooperatively make design choices, learn to take turns, and build a structure through teamwork.
These words describe the very soul of Menokin’s mission. They represent all that Menokin has to offer, and when they are followed up by “A 500-acre classroom for heritage and natural resource conservation,” you can really get a picture of what goes on in this peaceful corner of the world.
Our mission was really put to the test this week, as Menokin played host to three different field trip groups from area schools. Each school represented a different age group and learning environment. But one thing was abundantly evident with all three. Kids love to learn, they love to explore, and they love to play.
DAY ONE – Tueday, November 6th Aylett Country Day School, Millers Tavern, VA
Aylett is a small, private school in Essex County, VA, which is across the river from Richmond County, Menokin’s home. The school serves children from Preschool through the 8th grade. Students from Aylett come from many surrounding counties, including Essex, Richmond, King and Queen, King William and Middlesex.
The 8th-grade class visited Menokin on Tuesday. While they toured the visitor’s center, the conservation barn and the house site, the main purpose for their visit was to complete a community service project for Menokin. Armed with cans of orange spray paint, which managed to stay off the students, they hiked through the woods at Menokin with staff members Sarah Pope, Alice French and myself, marking the otherwise not-so-obvious path along the bluff overlooking Menokin Bay on Cat Point Creek.
A stop along the way introduced them to Thane Harpole of DATA Investigations, and his team of archaeologists conducting a survey here in conjunction with the Chesapeake Gateways Grant secured by Menokin earlier this year. The hike concluded with gathering water samples from Cat Point Creek and returning to the Visitor’s Center to test the water for oxygen and acidity levels.
The last few minutes before leaving were well used exploring 21st century uses for colonial toys.