For the past 20 years, the sophomore biology class has had a field day “to make sophomores more aware of what’s around you and habitats,” says AHS biology teacher, Mr. Young. On Tuesday, October 12th, 2021, the 8th annual Wildhaven Field Day took place. Sophomores from Bishop Garrigan High School and Algona High School were invited to visit the Wildhaven Campus, which is owned by Don Tietz.
For the whole school day, students were digitally unplugged. Everyone involved was able to enjoy a light breeze and some sun, ideal weather for the day.
The day started out with a presentation from some guest speakers. The guest speakers were from the National Eagle Center, located in Wabasha, Minnesota. They brought a live bald eagle and the students were able to see the eagle up close.
After the presentation concluded, the students began their trek to seven different stations, each learning about something different. The students were taught by volunteers at each station.
Steve Young’s station was about vertebrate and macro invertebrate seining and identification. Here the students used nets to catch vertebrate and macro invertebrates and then identified them.
Billie Willie, from the Kossuth County Conservation Board (KCCB), taught students about the history of the local East Fork of the Des Moines River. The students were told about how the town was founded and who founded it, along with some history regarding Indians.
Chelsea Ewen, from the Mitchell County Conservation Board, taught students about wild edibles at her station. She showed some edible plants, berries, and fungus to the students. At the end of the station, students were allowed to try some delicious jam made from wild berries.
T.J. Herrick’s, an Iowa DNR Wildlife Biologist, station was about chronic wasting disease. At this station students were shown how they test to see for chronic wasting disease by removing a lymph node and sending it in to be tested.
Beany Bode, a teacher from Bishop Garrigan High School, taught students about Wildhaven’s natural history. Here students were shown the progression and change throughout the years of Wildhaven and the landscape around.
Julie Fosado, from the KCCB, taught the students some ornithology. The students were then taken out to go bird watching with binoculars provided by Don Tietz.
Brody Bertram, a volunteer, taught students about the trees of Iowa and how to plant a tree properly. Seven trees were planted that day in memory of Daren Tietz, Don Tietz’s son. The trees planted were Bur Oak, Northern pin/Hills Oak, Swamp White Oak, Bald Cypress, River Birch, Ginkgo, and a Serviceberry.
Group chaperones from AHS were Rachel Zuetlau, Jodie Huff, Travis Birkey, Janie Eischen, Mike Weier, and Todd Louwagie. Lunch was provided by Smithfield Foods.
Mr. Young plans to organize and have the Biology Field Day as long as he still is teaching biology at AHS, and he’s looking forward to next year’s Field Day.