It was a quiet and peaceful morning May 25 at the stormwater park at the corner of Kercheval and Beniteau streets in southeastern Detroit. A robin flew down from a maple tree to snag a worm from the fresh blades of grass below. Suddenly, a large shadow appeared overhead and blocked out the sun, as an eagle swooped down in search of its own breakfast.
While that might be an exciting scene played out in nature, on this morning it was part of a program students from Detroit Enterprise Academy were enjoying thanks to members of Stellantis’ Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) team. Over two days, 60 third graders from the school learned about the importance of biodiversity through three lessons focusing on: the food web, how seeds spread, and how birds use their different size beaks.
“Stellantis was pleased to host the third grade class from Enterprise Academy at our stormwater park near the Detroit Assembly Complex for a field trip on the importance of biodiversity in an urban environment,” said Al Johnston, a member of the Stellantis Corporate Environmental Health & Safety team.
“The park is located right across the street from the Enterprise Academy and it gave us a great opportunity to engage with students and use the park setting as a great educational opportunity. Stellantis staff from the Detroit Assembly Complex Mack plant and the EHS Corporate Environmental Group conducted the training using a special curriculum on biodiversity developed by the Wildlife Habitat Council.”
For the food web lesson activity, a group of students formed a circle and were each handed a card with a different animal or subject from nature, like grass, the sun, a worm, a robin, an eagle, etc. Then a ball of string was tossed from one student to another, depending on what card they were holding and what might eat or use what, eventually creating a complex web of string between the students. But when a card was removed, the student holding that card stepped back and dropped the end of string they were holding, leading to the web falling part, demonstrating to the students how important each part of the food web is in its own ecosystem.
When it came to learning about how seeds are spread in nature, students took part in a skit, acting out how seeds might fall from a tree in the wind or how animals might pick them up and transfer them, eventually planting the seeds and new trees growing.
And for the bird beak lessons, students pretended to be plants and held cotton balls in their hands representing food for the birds portrayed by their classmates, who used their hands as beaks to attempt and retrieve the cotton balls.
When the lessons were complete, the students were each given a bag with wildflower seeds for them to plant at home, and other fun items to highlight the environment.
“This is amazing,” said Christina Krause, an Enterprise Academy third grade teacher. “It’ll be nice to have this space to come across and use and just have an extension of the outside classroom. It’s fabulous to be able to utilize.”
“The students had a great time and were extremely engaged,” Johnston added. “Many students pointed out the numerous birds flying around the park and the wide variety of trees. After the event the students took a tour of the park and enjoyed checking out the nine informational stations throughout.”
Please direct any questions or inquires toStellantis4Detroit@Stellantis.com