ACE Goes Bug-Hunting


ACE Students and instructor Carrie pictured by the pond at White Memorial Conservation Center

Ludmila Conceicao, Staff Writer

This week, ACE kids spent the first of the month out on a muddy and insect-filled adventure at the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, CT. The trip was planned as a learning event for Katja’s aquatic science classes, and about twelve students attended along with Katja herself and ACE art teacher Alyssa.

Carrie, the instructor at White Memorial, guided students through the first group activity – catching bugs. Trip-goers, including staff, headed over to one of the ponds on the 4000-acre property and each were given dip nets to catch various small pond insects. Students initially let out a gasp as they watched Carrie sift through the net with bare hands, hesitant to touch the contents of the pond. Eventually, however, students warmed up and began to catch insects of their own.

In Katja’s eyes, the trip was a huge success. “The students learned that touching the insects wouldn’t kill them – they learned that it wasn’t gross,” she explained. “They really went to town with it, and I’m so proud of everyone. We all worked together on this trip and it turned into a sort of fun competition.” 

After filling up a water bucket with various types of pond creatures – some as small as a crumb and others the size of a quarter – Carrie assisted the students in determining the pond’s health based on their findings. Fortunately, the pond was in excellent health!

Student Cole Ferrentino pictured holding a crayfish

“It’s great that the students were able to take what we learned and figure out the pond’s health after the creature hunt,” Katja added.

Once the small critters were released back into their pond, the ACE kids took a nature scavenger hunt around the area, searching for various plants, creatures, and other natural findings. Unlike most scavenger hunts, however, the objective of the activity was to take as many artistic photographs as possible and submit them into the trip’s personalized Google Classroom page.

Following a quick lunch break, the trip concluded with a walk through the museum & gift shop. The museum featured various displays of taxidermied animals and information about different species. 

The van ride back to ACE was filled with lots of laughs, and students made it back just in time for dismissal.