Creative Field Trips Inspire Desert View Students

December 01, 2003 | Sylvia Shasky

Imagine feeling the heartbeat of a hummingbird in your hand and then listening to the tiny sounds as the bird is put up to your ear. Then experience complete amazement as the bird takes flight from your hand. That is what students at Desert View Christian School in Mountain Home, Idaho, were all aflutter about on their first field trip of the year to watch Stacy Peterson catch and band the tiniest birds in Idaho.

Peterson, a member at Mountain Home Church, is one of two licensed hummingbird banders in Idaho. The students spent the morning in pastor Dave Shasky’s yard where Peterson has been catching and banding the tiny birds for the last three summers. The children were fascinated to learn of hearts that rest at 250 beats a minute and then speed up to 1,200 beats in flight.

The children were very attentive as they watched Peterson catch, measure, identify, weigh and band the three varieties of birds found in Idaho. Megan Fesler helped record the data, and Mindy Troutfetter discovered she was a "bird whisperer" when a bird rested quietly in her open hand for 10 minutes before taking flight.

On their second field trip several weeks later, the students got really dirty following the journey of the famous Idaho potato from the field to the platter. Students combined learning and "Share Your Faith" when they visited Andy and Lorna Johnson’s farm to glean potatoes for the food bank. The students bagged potatoes and rode in the tractors and potato trucks. Perched on the digger, teacher Dannia Birth joined the field workers and tried her hand at sorting potatoes.

The students then visited the Simplot potato cellars in Hammett, Idaho, and saw how they are stored for later distribution. The next day they feasted on baked potatoes for lunch.