[caption id="attachment_83364" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2021\/09\/Outdoor-Education.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="449" class="size-full wp-image-83364" \/> Pocahontas County fourth graders spent the past four Thursdays visiting different locations in the county as part of the Nature\u2019s Mountain Classroom outdoor adventures education program. The students learned to kayak, fly fish and snorkel and connected those lessons to their classroom education in science, math, history, writing and art. Photo courtesy of Tracey Valach[\/caption]\r\n\r\nSuzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nKayaking, fly fishing and West Virginia history were just a few of the sessions Pocahontas County fourth graders took part in during the month of September in the Nature\u2019s Mountain Classroom outdoor adventures educational program.\r\n\r\nThe sessions kicked off at Watoga State Park where students kayaked on the lake, learned rope tying skills, got up close and personal with salamanders and created their own trout drawings.\r\n\r\nNext stop was Snowshoe Mountain Resort where they learned to fly fish with the help of the folks from Elk River Touring and Knapps Creek Trout Lodge. They also continued their kayaking lessons and artistic renderings of aquatic life.\r\n\r\nIt was on to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in the third week, where the students got to experience a bit of history as two steam locomotives came down the track to the Depot and parked while the students learned more about the history of the railroad and logging industry in the county.\r\n\r\nThey also snorkeled in the Greenbrier River and enjoyed several camp songs as a warm up to the day.\r\n\r\nThe last adventure for the fourth grade students was at the Buckeye bridge, where they created pumpkin boats, biked and participated in a STEM activity.\r\n\r\nProgram coordinator Tracey Valach said she has been thrilled to see Nature\u2019s Mountain Classroom in motion and said that 100 percent of the fourth grade students returned their waivers and participated in the program.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s awesome,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nMarlinton Elementary School teacher Brian Smith said his students have really enjoyed the experience and are learning a lot about the county, and themselves, with this added curriculum.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey\u2019ve been enjoying themselves and a lot of them are getting experiences they\u2019ve never had before,\u201d he said. \u201cTheir first time in a boat; their first time fly fishing. They\u2019re getting some really cool opportunities they wouldn\u2019t have otherwise had. I think they\u2019re having a blast.\u201d\r\n\r\nAlong with the one day a week adventure in the county, Smith said he has incorporated the experiences into the classroom as much as he can.\r\n\r\n\u201cI definitely look for ways to tie this back into the classroom,\u201d he said. \u201cWe\u2019ve done a few connections, like writing in class about our previous adventure, what we hope to do on our next adventure. Also connecting science \u2013\u00a0it\u2019s easy to connect science.\u201d\r\n\r\nWith this being the first year for the program, Smith said it\u2019s been a learning opportunity for the teachers and school staff, as well, and he hopes to see the program continue to grow in the future.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re trying to figure things out right now,\u201d he said. \u201cIt\u2019s been a wonderful beginning, but I think we can do even more to bring in our own standards and other lessons and stations. Each year I think it will grow and we\u2019ll be able to add new ideas.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe next adventure will be with the fifth grade students and will incorporate biking with the content standards. The first session will be September 30 at Camp Hidden Meadows.