Following up on our post from March 12, Caitie McCoy and Terri Hallesy visited with students in East Chicago to see how their projects studying the Roxana Marsh area were going. Terri sent along some details: 
On April 19, Caitie McCoy invited Education Specialist Terri Hallesy, to visit Andrea Bock’s 4th grade science classrooms at East Chicago Lighthouse Charter School. The students have been learning about the Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup project at Roxana Marsh and how to design a habitat. Jack Brunner, an EPA contractor whose employees work on-site at Roxana Marsh, was invited as a guest speaker to share his restoration work with the students. Caitie McCoy and colleague, Nishaat Yunus, actively engaged students in a discussion about key concepts associated with habitats and restoration projects. Students participated in a hands-on activity to design their own Roxana Marsh habitat by constructing a colorful classroom mural. Students were divided into groups and provided with photos depicting various elements contained within a habitat. Selected photos included nonliving elements, such as the sun and oxygen; above water living plants like black-eyed Susan and wild bergamot; and above water living animals such as the great blue heron and Peregrine falcon. Using various art tools, students designed and illustrated some of the components that comprise the Roxana Marsh habitat. Caitie McCoy and Terri Hallesy affixed the students’ creative illustrations onto a mural, which is now proudly displayed in their classroom. As a culminating event, Jack Brunner surprised the students by presenting a painted turtle that was found on the Roxana Marsh site and has been kept as a pet during the cleanup. The next step in this exciting restoration project will involve the students actually visiting Roxana Marsh to plant natives they’ve been cultivating in their classroom.
All of the students had a great time getting involved and learning about the marsh, and they’re looking forward to planting the native species they’ve been growing in the class.