Panhandle fourth graders got a chance to learn more about their water resources and other natural resources at a fun-filled day of hands-on learning during the annual ï¿½Water Wondersï¿½ Water Festival sponsored by North Plains Groundwater Conservation District in Dumas.
USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) participated in the local Water Festival teaching students the important role that ï¿½soilï¿½ has for all living things. NRCS Rangeland Management Specialists Matthew Coffman and Ryan McClintock presented one of the nine program stations asking their young audience to consider three general soil types - sand, silt and clay; explaining the differences in sized textures and variations of the soils in the region and how they relate to soils around the globe. Over 400 students learned how soil impacts them each day, from the food they eat; to the clothes they wear; to the structures they live in that provide shelter.
Using an apple to illustrate the land and water mass of the earth, students were especially surprised to find out how small the available landuse areas are on the earthï¿½s surface used to farm and produce agricultural products for so many people. NRCS also incorporated soil erosion as part of the program through the use of rainfall simulation. The simulated rainfall event demonstrated water runoff, showing examples for how soil loss occurs and how topsoil is quickly washed across a field and off of the farm without proper care.
More outreach learning about water resources included interactive presentations during the day to learn more about water and water conservation, as well as learning about aquatic organisms, Panhandle wildlife and Panhandle fisheries. Students were able to gain knowledge on the properties, uses, connections and importance of water and other natural resources that surround them.
Presenters and contributors who helped to make the festival possible include: North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, Valero Energy Corp., USDA-NRCS, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and area 4-H and FFA volunteers. For more information on the water Wonders Water Festival, contact Kirk Welch at (806) 935-6401 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.npwd.org.
NRCS employees Matthew Coffman (L) and Ryan McClintock teach 4th grade students about conservation of natural resources at the ï¿½Water Wondersï¿½ Water Festival in Dumas.
Using a rainfall simulator, Ryan McClintock, NRCS rangeland specialist, demonstrates the importance of good farming practices and ground cover used to reduce runoff and
eliminate soil erosion.