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Texas partners host educational field day at Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge

story by Quenna Terry

Teachers and students from New Mexico’s Lindsey-Steiner Elementary School in Portales crossed state lines recently to experience a fun filled day of learning on the land.

USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was one of many partners presenting at the Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge to fifth grade students during the agricultural wildlife seminar.A field day stop  at  a rainfall catch basin wildlife water facility at the  Wildlife Refuge .

NRCS field employees from the Farwell and Muleshoe offices manned a soils learning station where they taught students about the different types of soils, and why they are important to us. The outdoor classroom included a demonstration of how to take a soil sample, how soil is formed, and how to identify the layers of soil in a profile.

NRCS District Conservationist Earl Behrends shows students techniques used in soil sampling.

Earl Behrends, NRCS district conservationist from Farwell said, “The children exhibited a desire to learn more about natural resources. They were eager to experience the activities we had to offer them.”

Students also participated in a nature walk and learned how to identify water fowl and other birds. They experienced instruction at a wildlife booth and water conservation station too. After enjoying lunch on the location, students were taken to two lakes at the refuge and they were allowed to collect plants and vegetation from the lakes.

“The students were very intrigued by the diversity of forbs and grasses,” said Jordan Menge, wildlife biologist with Pheasants Forever and NRCS. “We showed them the benefits of forages for wildlife in terms of nesting cover and food sources.”

Sponsoring partners in this effort were from the Ogallala Commons, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Texas A&M University Wildlife Services, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Playa Lake Joint Venture.

Fifth grade students from New Mexico public schools learn how to identify general soil types.Jordan Menge, wildlife biologist for Pheasants Forever and NRCS conducts grass and forb ID session.