Students learn about Harrington’s Heritage and Wildlife
The Grade 2/3 students of A J Baker Public School took a field trip on June 6th to Harrington, a small grassroots community trying to preserve their pond and grist mill, to learn about the history and wildlife of the small town.
The field trip included a tour to the back of the Harrington Mill Pond where Vanni Azzano, a Community Education Supervisor for the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), taught the students about the wildlife that lives in the pond. The children were elated when Azzano caught a large crayfish for them to examine with magnifying glasses. The children also learned about the Attawandaron people who inhabited Harrington before the Europeans settled in the area. Then they toured the restored Harrington Grist Mill where they learned about the corn grinding process.
This field trip ties in directly to the current subject matter that the students are learning in their science and social studies classes. Kim Munro and Michelle Beecroft, teachers at A J Baker PS, chose to bring their students to Harrington not only because it applies to class material, but also because it teaches the students something they can’t learn in the classroom.
“We want the kids to understand their local community,” says Munro, adding on that, “It’s important to support what Harrington is trying to do.”
Harrington is currently working to promote the heritage of their community. In 2017, an inspection deemed the Harrington Dam unsafe and the UTRCA would like to remove the dam, which would destroy the mill pond, subsequently hurting the Harrington wildlife and community. The Harrington & Area Community Association has created the Mill Power Fund in hopes of raising enough money to replace the dam instead, preserving the mill pond and the wildlife habitat that it provides, as well as restore water power to the Grist Mill for the education of future generations.
The students of AJ Baker PS have been an active part of this project. On April 25th, students in grades 4-8 did a garbage pick-up and made birdhouses in Harrington as part of their Day of Caring initiative.
“It’s an opportunity for the kids to demonstrate stewardship,” says Beecroft. Beecroft hopes to continue involving her students in community work like this.
To book a school tour, contact Nancy Skillings at 519-475-4834 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also make a donation to the Mill Power Fund at www.gofundme.com/help-us-preserve-our-heritage. For more information go to www.exploreharrington.ca.