Honey Creek Resort, which Delaware North began managing for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) last June, recently hosted its first school group for the DiscoveryPath interactive educational program.
A group of 19 seventh-grade students and four chaperones from the Seymour Community School District in Seymour, Iowa, made the 30-mile journey to the resort at Honey Creek State Park. The three-day program included two nights in which the students and chaperones stayed at the resort.
DiscoveryPath, a proprietary Delaware North program that has been offered at some of the company’s parks and resorts locations such as Yellowstone National Park, takes students beyond the classroom into the outdoors to explore real life discoveries.
“The program is tailored to each unique destination and designed to use interactive educational modules that challenge students to think innovatively within a team setting,” said Walt Kochansky, Delaware North’s general manager at Honey Creek Resort. “By taking them into the field, DiscoveryPath has a unique opportunity to inspire students to make changes in their own lives and the lives of their communities.”
Using Honey Creek Resort as a base, the students:
- Toured the IDNR’s Rathbun Fish Hatchery on Lake Rathbun, learning how fish are raised and released into lakes, the importance of a healthy lake ecosystem, sustainable fishing practices and the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch program. Students then fished from docks, learning to identify the fish they caught, cleaned their catch, and were offered a variety of either local fish or sustainable fish prepared various ways for dinner.
- Toured the Activities Building, a net-zero energy facility at the resort that uses wind energy and solar heating. Students conducted experiments related to solar design and sketched how they could incorporate passive solar design into their own homes.
- Prepared a four-course meal using a Dutch oven for outdoor cooking.
- Visited the onsite beehives to learn about the importance of pollinators to Iowa’s economy, and the different types of hives and tools beekeepers use.
- Worked with a Dietitian to learn about the five food groups, vegetable subgroups and the difference between whole and refined grains.
- Participated in a “Chopped Challenge” where students were put into teams that prepared and presented a three-course meal for a panel of judges.
- Students toured Honey Creek Resort’s waterpark, learning about its filtration system and how water heated by solar panels is incorporated. Students then used the scientific process to study various aspects of the waterpark, including how to slide down the waterslide fastest, how fast “the lazy river” flows and how much water is saved using the filtration system.
The final activity was a tour of the Rathbun Regional Water Association facility, where students learned the importance of water conservation and how water from Lake Rathbun is filtrated and treated so it ends up as drinking water in their homes.
PHOTO CAPTION: Executive Chef Alex Beltran (far left) offers cooking advice to a group of seventh-grade students during an educational visit to Honey Creek Resort.