Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve helps Utah students get hands-on with nature

GREAT SALT LAKE -- On the far west side of Layton there's a nature preserve that's free and open to the public, and it’s helping to educate future scientists.

“It’s a really fun trip for the kids to come out here and get to experience it firsthand,” says Andrea Nelson, community engagement manager for The Nature Conservancy.

This past week, kids from Orchard Elementary visited the wide open spaces of The Nature Conservancy's Great Salt Lake Shoreland Preserve.

“These fourth-graders have come out here to visit the wetlands and to learn about fourth-grade science core curriculum,” Nelson said. “Things like adaptation, wetland ecology, habitat.”

In the 10 years since the boardwalks were built, about 14,000 students have been here for the hands-on experience.

"A lot of these kids have never visited a wetland before, or never had an opportunity to poke around outside," said Kristen Bonner, a wings and water education assistant at the preserve.

Bonner said they give the kids plenty to do.

“Before we made it to the tower we've taken a look at the soil, we've taken a look at the plants; we cut them in half so they could see the inside,” she said.

The Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve is open to the public and is free of charge. The Nature Conservancy does accept donations to help offset the cost of school field trips so more kids can get there.

To learn more, visit the The Nature Conservancy’s website for the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.