After learning about and experiencing the river, it was time to take a step back and learn about the flood plains. For this class, the students ventured to a goat prairie overlooking the Great Miami and Hills and Dales MetroPark. The session began in the classroom reviewing aerial maps of the sites we were about to visit in relation to the river and aquifer.
At Calvary cemetery, a short hike through a wooded area brought the class to a relict goat prairie with a great view of the activity on the flood plain. Bro. Don Geiger led the class in imagining the changes that have taken place since Dayton was founded and understanding the impact of developing on the flood plains.
At Hills and Dales, Susan Byrnes led the group in an observation activity. Looking through a square cutout, each student focus on a single area in front of them noting first the physical attributes, then looking a little deeper using knowledge to make assumptions about those attributes. The final task was to look at the same area with a third eye; a greater appreciation of what they saw without looking to explain or classify it. The first two tasks proved to be much easier.
Through the fieldtrip, the class saw a great comparison between the developed flood plains of the Great Miami and the natural headwater area in Hills and Dales. They learned a valuable technique for making observations and an appreciation for reflection. Finally as the class traveled back to campus, the students were shocked to learn just how close Hills and Dales is to UD and what a great place it is to reconnect with nature.