The Coke County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) welcomed 5th and 6th grade students from Robert Lee and Bronte Elementary to the Wildcat Mountain Ranch for the 2011 Conservation Day Outdoor Classroom on October 19.
Assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas Forest Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, San Angelo Nature Center and both Robert Lee and Bronte Volunteer Fire Departments also made the field day a success.
Students were welcomed by Donna Waldrop, Coke County SWCD technician, and NRCS District Conservationist Mark Sides before beginning to make their way through five educational stations.
A special twist to this year's event was the Nature Center reptile exhibit. With a variety of both venomous and non-venomous snakes, students were able to explore education through an experience with a live species. Even though most snakes are not lethal to humans, many people are still terrified of these slithering reptiles. The program, presented by Travis Fisher, illustrated how venomous snakes bite humans only in self-defense and would much rather not confront us. Snakes also provide a valuable service by controlling the rodent population.
NRCS employees Sam Schiwart, Grant Teplicek, Jim Bob Ellisor, and Jaime Tankersley were part of the quail habitat restoration station. Wildcat Mountain Ranch was directly in the path of the Wildcat inferno that engulfed nearly 160,000 acres in Tom Green and Coke Counties. This made it a key location to educate students about conservation, rehabilitation and rebuilding after the blaze.
After completing all stations, students were treated to a hot dog lunch provided by Coke County SWCD and friends.
If you are interested in participating in next year's field day or other SWCD/NRCS activities you can contact them at 325-453-2623 ext. 3 or visit them at 214 East 7th Street in Robert Lee.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist, Mary Humphries, explains the benefits of managing your wildlife population and the effects they have on all of our natural resources.
Bronte and Robert Lee students "scatter like a covey of quail" at the Quail Habitat and Rehabilitation Station during the annual Coke County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Day.
Travis Fisher, with the San Angelo Nature Conservancy, presented a variety of snakes and explained the benefits they provide to our ecosystem and handling safety during the annual Coke County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Day.
The backdrop for this year's Coke County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Day was the Wildcat Mountain Ranch, which was scorched during the Wildcat wildfire which engulfed nearly 160,000 acres.
School kids from Bronte and Robert Lee elementary school get ready for a day at Wildcat Mountain Ranch.