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Water Conservation Day at Navarro Mills Lake

Water Conservation Day at Navarro Mills Lake

Story by Randy Henry

When it came to learning about water conservation and our environment, Dawson Elementary School had dozens of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders enjoy a day of fun during the Science Outdoors Adventure Ride (SOAR) 2010 at Navarro Mills Lake in Dawson, Texas.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) co-sponsored the water conservation day, educating the students about soil erosion using a rainfall simulator and erosion demonstrations from Earth Team volunteers and NRCS personnel. The other sponsors included the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Corsicana Environmental Services, and volunteers from the Dawson independent school district.

Tom Clark, NRCS soil conservationist in Ellis County, spoke with the students and quizzed them on water conservation and soil erosion at the NRCS station using a rainfall simulator during the water conservation day event. Also, each student was given a SOAR handbook with questions about the specific topic at each of the six conservation stations during the event.

�We had six groups of students that visited the NRCS soil erosion station, and they used a SOAR handbook to answer questions about water conservation and soil erosion,� Clark said. �They really liked the rainfall simulator while learning how soil erosion takes place.�

The annual event covered topics the students could take back to their classrooms, where Dawson Elementary teachers and volunteers can use the lessons for science projects. The subject areas covered at the conservation event included soil erosion, the water cycle, archeology, water treatment plant system, dam and water safety, and the environment around Navarro Mills Lake.

�We are teaching the students at Dawson Elementary the importance of water as a natural resource, and one of the best places to start at their age is the water cycle,� said Kathy Ballentine, a teacher at Dawson Elementary School.

Besides water conservation demonstrations, the students learned about archeology at a station sponsored by the NPS, where the kids learned about the value of the past in a session called Diggin� up Bones.

�It�s really great to have so many students wanting to learn about conservation around the area they actually live in, and archeology gives them a chance to dig in the soil and see results about the history of Navarro Mills Lake,� said Julia Hopson, an educator and NPS park ranger in Navarro County.

Tom Clark, NRCS

Hopson NRS

These 4th grade students from Dawson Elementary School in Dawson, Texas, were eager to answer questions from Tom Clark, NRCS soil conservationist in Ellis County, during their visit to the NRCS soil erosion station on Water Conservation Day at Navarro Mills Lake.

Helping a student from the Dawson Elementary School during the Water Conservation Day at Navarro Mills Lake, Julia Hopson, an educator and NPS park ranger in Navarro County, measures a turtle shell dug up at the NPS archeology station called Diggin� up Bones.

Volunteer at Rainfall Simulator Dawson teacher at Water Cycle

NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Jimmy Stewart discusses runoff water and what is left in the ground using a rainfall simulator to a group of students from Dawson Elementary School during the Water Conservation Day at Navarro Mills Lake.

While at the water cycle station, students learned more than the stages of the water cycle as Karen Ballentine, a teacher at Dawson Elementary School, explained about water sources, water volume in cubic miles, and percentages of total water from the Earth�s water distribution chart.