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Students Get Hands-On Training in Natural Resources

story by Donna Waldrop, Coke County SWCD

The Coke County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) hosted the fifth annual Coke County Conservation Field Day on October 24, 2012.

Seventy-seven fifth and sixth grade students of Bronte and Robert Lee Elementary schools gathered at the historical Fort Chadbourne Ranch for a fun filled day of soil and water conservation education. They were welcomed by Garland Richards, Fort Chadbourne Foundation, and Donna Waldrop, Coke County SWCD District Technician. The morning session began at 9:30 a.m.

Garland and Lana Richards, along with Ann Pate and Brent Bryan of the Fort Chadbourne Foundation, played host to Station #1 which included a tour of the awesome new visitor’s center and remarkable history of the Fort.

Wade Day, assisted by Jacob Maenius, NRCS, hosted Station #2. Using a watershed model they explained that proper farming practices, correct usage of chemicals on fields and lawns, and the appropriate disposal of oil and chemicals play a vital role in the quality of water heading into our streams and rivers.

James Jackson, Texas Agri-Life Extension, Station #3, had the students actively applying rain harvesting methods. They used a water filled coffee can with holes for rain on top of a tin roof with guttering and a collection bucket signifying a water tank to store the rain water to use in times of need or everyday use.

Joe Franklin and Ryan McClintock, NRCS, assisted by volunteer, Quentin Holik, hosted Station #4. They discussed with the students the needs of plants and animals including daily requirements of food and water for each.

The rainfall simulator was Station #5 hosted by Cliff Kinnibrugh and Chris Wolfenbarger, NRCS. The simulator shows the affect rainfall has on grass covered soil as opposed to bare ground and the difference in the quality of water runoff from these.

Station #6 featured the many different types and profiles of soils found in Coke County hosted by Amanda Bragg, NRCS. Students were allowed to “feel” the difference in soil textures when they are dry and how they change when they become wet from rainfall.

Following a hot dog lunch with all the trimmings, outdoor education day concluded with students alternating between the edible aquifer station and a hayride to the buffalo pasture. A model of the underground aquifer was demonstrated by Ty Williams and Grant Teplicek, NRCS. Following the demonstration, the students enjoyed their own version of an “edible aquifer” built with gummi bears, sprite, ice cream, sprinkles, and chocolate syrup.

Seventy-seven fifth and sixth grade students from Bronte and Robert Lee participate in Conservation Day 2012.

Seventy-seven fifth and sixth grade students from Bronte and Robert Lee participate in Conservation Day 2012.

Station One – Tour of new visitors’ center and history of Fort Chadbourne. Station Two – Wade Day, assisted by Jacob Maenius, NRCS, show students a watershed model of Fort Chadbourne.

Station One – Tour of new visitors’ center and history of Fort Chadbourne.

Station Two – Wade Day, assisted by Jacob Maenius, NRCS, show students a watershed model of Fort Chadbourne.

Station Three – James Jackson, Texas Agri-Life Extension, teaches students how they can harvest rain water from roofs of buildings. Station Four – Joe Franklin and Ryan McClintock discuss the needs of plants and animals.

Station Three – James Jackson, Texas Agri-Life Extension, teaches students how they can harvest rain water from roofs of buildings.

Station Four – Joe Franklin and Ryan McClintock discuss the needs of plants and animals.

Station Five – Cliff Kinnibrugh and Chris Wolfenbarger, NRCS, demonstrate how land reacts to rain in different ways with a rainfall simulator. Station Six – Amanda Bragg, NRCS, discusses different soil types with the students.

Station Five – Cliff Kinnibrugh and Chris Wolfenbarger, NRCS, demonstrate how land reacts to rain in different ways with a rainfall simulator.

Station Six – Amanda Bragg, NRCS, discusses different soil types with the students.

Station Seven – Ty Williams uses food layering techniques to describe how aquifers function in his edible aquifer demonstration.  

Station Seven – Ty Williams uses food layering techniques to describe how aquifers function in his edible aquifer demonstration.