Tag Archives: St. Margarets School

SOAK(ing) Up the Fun

We’d like to thank SMS Instructor, Kevin Goff, for sharing Menokin’s treasures with his students, and for sharing these great pictures with us. Enjoy!
The girls participating in SOAK have been enjoying their afternoons! They took a trip to Francis Lightfoot Lee’s Menokin to do some kayaking. Here is a full gallery from the trip!

Menokin Eco Tour

Guest Blogger: Alice French, Director of Education and Outreach

With the opening of our new road and kayak launch, Menokin has been partnering with regional schools and environmental institutions to bring attention to what a wonderful place Cat Point Creek is. One of the most recent programs here was developed by students from St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock.

IMG_5943This Spring, Kevin Goff’s “Bay Studies” class used “project-based learning” (PBL) to tackle a problem for Menokin: “How can we design educational materials and an ecotour on Menokin Bay that will help Menokin visitors understand the ecology and natural history of Cat Point Creek, the Rappahannock River, and Chesapeake Bay, as well as environmental challenges facing the bay ecosystem in the 21st century?”

sms eco-tour2016This project was THE driving goal of the entire 10-week course, providing the occasion for the students to learn about the bay and its tributaries. PBL as an instructional approach gives students a great deal of voice, choice, and creative control over how the class progresses, how the project develops, and what the final product will look like. It’s rather different from typical class projects, which tend to be supplemental to traditional instruction, and either individual or small groups. Here it’s ONE project that the entire class tackles collaboratively, right out of the gate.

IMG_2655Upon completion of the class, their Final Exam was to present the Eco Tour to Menokin Staff and associates.  The tour reflects an understanding of the complex ecology and natural history of Rappahannock River Valley Watershed and its many different habitats: open water, wetlands, seagrass meadows, oyster reefs, seafloor and shorelines. It also notes how human activity is stressing this beautiful and valuable ecosystem and what we can do to preserve and protect it.

The girls did a wonderful job, and as Menokin’s chief educator, I am pleased to be able to use the material and props they developed for future programming.  I was even able to use some of the material immediately, when 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders from Aylett Country 2_CatPointCreekHabiatsDay School came to visit and walk the trail to Cat Point Creek on June 6th!

Partnerships like this, allow everyone to learn and grow while having a great time, too.  We look forward to future activities with St. Margaret’s and continued programs with all educational institutions within our community.

A Whole New World – St. Margaret’s Paddle Club Explores Cat Point Creek

By Alice French

Kevin Goff, the new Director of the River Program at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, VA, has created this co-curricular activity group called SSOAK: Science, Service, and Outdoor Adventure Krew.

This particular group goes out with SMS faculty Cupper Dickinson and Kevin on weekday afternoons, and will soon be launching larger scale SSOAK activities on weekends for other students who want to participate.

October 12th was the second time they have visited Menokin since our new road was completed. One of the girls said that “Menokin was her favorite of all the places we’ve been kayaking the past 5 weeks”.

Kevin added, “Mine too.”

St. Margaret student members of SSOAK paddle Cat Point Creek at Menokin.
St. Margaret student members of SSOAK paddle Cat Point Creek at Menokin.

 

 

 

 

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Minimester at Menokin – St. Margaret’s Students Pay Us A Visit

Some students from St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock spent an afternoon at Menokin late in February as part of their “minimester” program.

Minimester as described on the SMS website:

Creative inquiry, experiential learning and the study of interdisciplinary topics are all intrinsic to each Minimester course. Every February, faculty teams teach one week courses outside the core subject areas, giving students the opportunity to learn during extended periods of time and with more hands-on experience.

This group’s focus, led by instructor Dale Harder, was to embark on an in-depth exploration of historic places in Virginia. They visited Monticello, Mt. Vernon and Stratford Hall before coming to Menokin.

Though short on time, the students did a little research on one of Menokin’s artifacts. The dictionary pictured below was found on the floor of Menokin in 1965 by then University of Virginia student Calder Loth. The SMS students were unable to find anything definitive, but did learn that there was a Richard H. Lyell (b. 1818 – d. 1901) that is now buried at Calvary Church Cemetery in Richmond County, VA. Perhaps this is the same man from whom the dictionary was purchased?

Here is a picture of the condition of one of the interior rooms at Menokin taken during that 1965 visit. The Southside Bank calendar on the wall is dated 1941. How long had it been since someone had lived in this room? And who was the last person to use the dictionary?

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