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Earth Team Volunteers Help at Ranch Day

Ranch Day in Lubbock brings on a lot of excitement from local and regional residents every year. The event is held at the Ranching and Heritage Center for families and anyone else who wants to learn and experience the living history of the western culture, pioneer life, range science and hands-on demonstrations.

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) joined in with more than 185 volunteers to educate youth and adults. NRCS presented at the science learning stations about soils, pollinators and other related agricultural topics.

NRCS Soil Scientist Kelly Attebury and Earth Team Volunteers Anevay Sanchez, Tito Molina and Roy Angell, students from Texas Tech University, presented educational demonstrations with hands-on activities at the NRCS station.

"As an Earth Team Volunteer, working at Ranch Day is a rewarding experience," said Sanchez. "I enjoyed the inspiring interest and promoting agriculture conservation while learning from my peers."

Children and adults alike had the opportunity to test their skills to see if they knew what types of fruits, vegetables and/or grains that the mighty pollinators pollinate. Participants also joined in the fun examining sand, silt, and clay samples by touch.

Molina added, "It's great jumpstarting the kids into thinking about conservation through fun activities."

Participants enjoyed touching the soil as Attebury talked about the different soil types and how healthy soil matters, explaining the importance of organic matter, and how it stores water and supports a healthy biologic community. His demonstration also included samples of building bricks.

"This was a great opportunity to visit with kids of all ages about things they had never thought about before," said Attebury. "I heard comments like, 'I didn't know sandpaper is made with real sand' or that ‘ there are so many living things in a healthy soil.'"

Besides quizzing the kids on pollinators, Sanchez, Molina and Angell filled goodie bags for the kids with conservation hot topics, pens, pencils and sunglasses.

Other science activities at the event included building simple machines, learning about steam power, and exploring range science.

The Ranch Day highlights offered everyone the opportunity to participate in the Ranch Hand Experience program to receive their work cards when they arrive and earn their stamps throughout the day as they visited each station. Once they completed six activities, visitors could take their cards to the Matador Office to receive cowboy pay to be spent at the Waggoner Commissary.

The event was a fun day with an estimated crowd of 5,000 people touring the ranching and heritage outdoor exhibits and experiencing historical interpretations and hands-on activities throughout the site.

Everyone had the opportunity to participate in history demonstrations, hands-on science lessons, ranch horse skills demonstration, music, dancing, stick horse rodeo and magic show at the 6666 barn. Some of the historical activities demonstrated to visitors included washing clothes on a washboard, churning butter, blacksmithing, and riding horses and a railroad car.

The NRCS Earth Team Volunteers were a huge help in preparing the NRCS learning station and presenting conservation education.

Sanchez, Molina and Angell agreed they liked volunteering at the event and doing community outreach. They look forward to continuing their volunteer work through the NRCS.

Earth Team Volunteers Help at Ranch Day, Quenna Terry, NRCS Public Affairs Specialist, Lubbock (2018, June)