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Dripping Springs Middle School Field Investigation Day

Dripping Springs Middle School Field Investigation Day

April 1st - Shield Ranch

Story by Cresencio (Cris) Perez, DC San Marcos

There were more than 20 volunteers from NRCS, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), Texas State University, US Fish & Game, Master Naturalist, Capital Farm Credit and a host of other volunteers providing students a learning opportunity at eight different stations. The stations offered included Habitat Management Tools & Journaling; Plant Identification; Soils & Rainwater Simulator; Quail CSI & Scent Stations; Run For Your Life, and Radio Telemetry. The field investigation day is to wrap up what the students had been studying in the classroom and allow them to get �hands-on� learning. The students also did a quail necropsy about three weeks before the field trip.

Approximately 350 students were bused to the Shields Ranch located north of Dripping Springs in western Travis County. This field day is conducted on different ranches in the Dripping Springs area every year. The students were divided into two different groups, each group visited six stations. Once students arrived at a station they were divided into two smaller groups making it easier for students to learn.

Students were allowed to feel the different soil textures as well as see how rainfall reacts on bare soil and soil protected by different types of ground cover. The students were taken to an area where they could see plants in their natural setting and identify the plants. Volunteers taught the students the value of the plant and what benefits that plant has in nature.

Both, Quail CSI and Run for Your Life had interactive activities for the students. Students were given exercises on animal behavior as well as what to look for when trying to identify a problem with surrounding habitat. Students were also presented the pros and cons of livestock and wildlife interaction in relation to a landowner�s goals and objectives.

NRCS Staff assisting with field day, L-R, Eddie Garcia, Justin Clary, Jeremy Hasty, Jason Morris, Melissa Blair, Cris Perez, Earth Team Volunteer Zaragosa Perez, and James Demoin.

Jeremy Hasty, RC Austin Field Office demonstrates various animal tracks.
NRCS Staff assisting with field day, L-R, Eddie Garcia, Justin Clary, Jeremy Hasty, Jason Morris, Melissa Blair, Cris Perez, Earth Team Volunteer Zaragosa Perez, and James Demoin. Jeremy Hasty, RC Austin Field Office demonstrates various animal tracks.
Justin Clary, Rangeland Management Specialist, State Office works with students on plant ID. Eddie Garcia, Soil Conservationist Austin Field Office helped students with Quail CSI.
 
Justin Clary, Rangeland Management Specialist, State Office works with students on plant ID.
Eddie Garcia, Soil Conservationist Austin Field Office helped students with Quail CSI.