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Woodbury Elementary students voted to go on a field trip. We tagged along

Charlotte Albright
In this file photo from 2015, a bear is shown on display at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium.

This story was produced for the ear. If you can, we recommend listening to it.

This winter, Woodbury Elementary School held its own town meeting with two binding articles — the second of which proved a bit contentious — and we reported on it here at Vermont Public.

Article two read: Shall Woodbury elementary used the donated $500 to go on a field trip instead of buying equipment for the playground.

Woodbury had received a $500 donation from Red Hen Baking Co., and the students were voting on whether to use that money for new playground equipment or a field trip. It was tough.

Violet of the fourth grade felt that the money should be used for the playground, she said, "the Blue tunnel is broken, and I wish we could get a new one that way, no one will fall through the hole."

But others respectfully disagreed. Robert of the third grade said, "we already have lots of recess equipment, and we barely ever go on field trips. So I would like to have that experience more times."

In the end, the kids agreed to use the money for a field trip.

But when this news was reported on Vermont Public, Adam Kane, the executive director of the Fairbanks Museum, was listening.

"I heard it while driving and you know, I got into work and I spoke to our director of education," he said. "I said, 'I want you to stop everything you're doing and I want you to call Woodbury right now, and I want you to get get them here for a field trip.'"

So, on a beautiful day in May the Woodbury Bears spent a day at the Fairbanks Museum.

They learned about the moon and about dinosaurs and about ancient Japanese artifacts. They dissected regurgitated owl food, which Matthew of the sixth grade described as the "best gross thing I've ever done."

It was a good day.

Disclosure: The Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium is a Vermont Public sponsor.

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Erica Heilman produces a podcast called Rumble Strip. Her shows have aired on NPR’s Day to Day, Hearing Voices, SOUNDPRINT, KCRW’s UnFictional, BBC Podcast Radio Hour, CBC Podcast Playlist and on public radio affiliates across the country. Rumble Strip airs monthly on Vermont Public. She lives in East Calais, Vermont.
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