Champaign Unit 4 Fifth-Graders Visit Kickapoo Park to Explore Earth Science

5th graders at rock outcrop

About 700 fifth-grade students from all schools in the Champaign Unit 4 School District participated in a field trip to Kickapoo State Park on September 15, 17, and 19 and October 20, 21, and 22 as part of their earth science curriculum. The trip, led by geologists Jessica Ackerman, Joan Crockett, James Damico, William Dey, Colleen Long, Danielle McLaughlin, Jessica Monson, Andrew Phillips, Geoffrey Pociask, Jason Thomason, Pius Weibel, and Fang Yang from the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), introduced students to rock outcrops, an abandoned coal mine entrance, reclaimed strip-mined land, and a point bar on the Middle Fork of the Vermillion River, a designated Scenic River. There, they enjoyed watching an erosion demonstration and participating in a rock identification exercise. Survey geologists were assisted by ISGS staff Kathleen Atchley, Kristina Bruhn, Jennifer Carrell, Maggie Jarvis, Ronald Klass, Michael Knapp, and Alison Lecouris. In addition, Michael Knapp photographed the trip and Kathleen Henry and Michael Knapp printed the guidebook.

Geologist identifies rockThe Kickapoo Geology Field Trip Program is funded by the ISGS and by a grant from the Office of Public Engagement at the University of Illinois to Crockett and Kristin Camp, former K-12 Science and Health Curriculum Coordinator of Champaign Unit 4 Schools. This is the third year of their planned five-year outdoor science experience designed to meet state earth science educational objectives for fifth-graders in the district. This collaborative effort requires widespread support by supervisors and staff of the ISGS, who recognize that public engagement is an important aspect of the ISGS mission of research and service to benefit the citizens of the State of Illinois.