Plainfield Central High School-Central Campus and Plainfield South High School environmental science students learned about and helped clean up the Lake Renwick Heron Rookery.
More than 60 PSHCC and PSHS students learned the history of the area, identified birds, hiked, and cleared the area of invasive vegetation.
They also learned about the succession of the forest habitat.
“I learned how we as people in the community can help to keep our ecosystems going, safe and healthy,” said PSHS senior Mackenzie O’Leary.
The COVID-19 pandemic sidelined many school field trips 2020, pushing students to online learning. So, teachers welcome the opportunity this year to extend the classroom again.
“The opportunity to take learning into the field is always a plus,” said Debra Pohlmann, PHSCC science teacher who led the PHSCC students.
The students experienced firsthand the biodiversity of the forest and talked about what makes a forest healthy, she said.
PHSCC senior Kara Petrich spends a lot of time outdoors, she said.
“It was refreshing to have an educational experience surrounded by the nature we are studying,” she said.
Students also enjoyed volunteering to clear the area of some invasive plants to help the Forest Preserve of Will County restore the area.
“With so much deforestation, I think it is really important that we take care of the forests we still have left,” said PHSCC senior Catherine Rambo.
“The work really does show you how much work conservation is and how invasive species are really serious,” said Stephanie Bedolla, a PSHS senior.