Crayfish, Snakes, & Leeches: Monroe Kids Get Full Seedskadee Experience

Crayfish, Snakes, & Leeches: Monroe Kids Get Full Seedskadee Experience

SWEETWATER COUNTY — Fifth graders at Monroe Intermediate School in Green River got the chance to explore Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge today.

Students were able to try bird watching, study the area’s macroinvertebrates like leeches and crayfish, touch a garter snake, and search for items like “a shiny rock” in an outdoor scavenger hunt (although true story, at one point the kids were huddled around what they were calling “a shiny poop” and wondering if that counted).

The refuge has been hosting field trips for classes across the county for the last several weeks and today was the very last.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

Seedskadee, located about 37 miles north of Green River, is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“In the shadow of the Wind River Mountain Range on Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, the Green River is an oasis that bisects the high desert sagebrush plains of southwest Wyoming. The river corridor is vital for more than 250 species of resident and migrant wildlife,” says the refuge website.

The 27,230 acre refuge protects riverside, wetland, and upland shrub habitats along 36 miles of the Green River in Southwest Wyoming.

Students seemed to visibly enjoy the hands-on experience. Check out the photos below.

Howard Hart, volunteer and retired pharmacist, talks aquatic macroinvertebrates with the Monroe fifth graders. He said that this net is helpful because Tom Koerner, the refuge’s project leader, is too slow to catch the wildlife! (It’s okay to tell jokes when you’re retired).
Monroe fifth graders catching aquatic macroinvertebrates like crayfish, leeches, aquatic worms, and more.
Tiny armored lobster-like macroinvertebrates called crayfish grow in the water out at Seedskadee.
Monroe fifth graders went on an outdoor scavenger hunt that included taking photos of birds, lichen, rocks, and more.
The kids were able to use high-powered binoculars and spotting scopes to see the birds and wildlife at Seedskadee.
BLM Hydrologist Dennis Doncaster demonstrates how much the point of view changes when you get really close to the ground. This helped the kids be observant in their scavenger hunt. Or maybe it had been a long day.
Creatures from the water at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. These were called ACCTs, Aquatic Critter Collection Trays. Plus, just a couple hours in the freezer and you’ve got ice cubes. #lifehack
Monroe fifth graders also had an indoor scavenger hunt, where they got to learn about wildlife by looking at taxidermy dioramas of the area.
BLM Hydrologist Dennis Doncaster encourages the kids to explore during their photo scavenger hunt.
Katie Theule, wildlife refuge specialist at the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, leads the students in a game that simulates the difficulties of migrating birds. The students had to run a course littered with trash and obstacles, while also avoiding predators and semi trucks on the road (real students tasked with tagging them out).
The game was like a complicated version of tag, but the students were to pick up “worms” at the far end of course. Not real worms, unfortunately.