Students attend Conservation Day at Beaver Dam
By Kathleen Clark
BEAVER DAM (May 10, 2018) – Area middle school students spent the week outdoors with the Macoupin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) employees at Beaver Dam State Park. For the groups’ annual Conservation Days, students from Northwestern CUSD 2 and Mt. Olive CUSD 5 were able to take a day off school to attend. Despite being away from school, they gained quite a bit of knowledge about water and natural resources from the professionals who strive to preserve them daily.
Rhonda Koehne, the SWCD administrative coordinator, started by welcoming students to the annual Conservation Day. She then divided the students into groups to attend hands on sessions at locations throughout the park. Koehne taught students about the limited amount of fresh water available for human use, and helped the students come up with tips on how to conserve water.
One of the more poignant lessons was led by Christine Goldstein of the NRCS. Students were given a large bag of trash and then pointed to a line of baskets with labels such as paper, tin, aluminum (all recyclable), and reusable. The last basket was labeled “landfill.” After students sorted each trash item, not a single one made it to the landfill. Students were surprised that all items were able to be recycled or reused.
The students also discussed renewable and nonrenewable resources. They were able to view examples of items that were previously made of nonrenewable items, such as oil-based plastic, and can now be made from plastic derived from corn and soybeans.
Wilson Yingling hosted a Hydrology Jeopardy game to help familiarize students with water terms, appropriate land features and their locations. Dan McCandless hosted a nature walk along the marsh where students learned about local flora and saw firsthand the successful efforts of the park’s invasive bush honeysuckle removal program.
The students were able to enjoy a leisurely walk along the trails to get to each station. The Macoupin County Master Gardeners had several representatives who gave a fun lesson on state symbols and plant functions.
On Friday, SWCD and NRCS staff hosted Conservation Day at the Carlinville Junior High School.
Rhonda Koehne speaks with the Northwestern CUSD 2 sixth-graders during the annual Conservation Day at Beaver Dam State Park. Students from around the county learned about water resources and how to protect them, from county Soil and Water Conservation District and Natural Resource Conservation Service staff.
Wilson Yingling of the Macoupin County Soil and Water Conservation District hosts a game of Hydrology Jeopardy with Northwestern CUSD 2 sixth-graders at the annual Conservation Days held at Beaver Dam State Park.
Students participate in an exercise demonstrating the amount of work it takes to move water for personal use during the annual Conservation Day at Beaver Dam State Park. Northwestern CUSD 2’s sixth grade teacher Carrie Dorwart and Soil and Water Conservation District administrator Rhonda Koehne keep an eye on how long it takes the students to fill their buckets from a simulated creek.