Joe Huntsman

Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation District hosts Fifth Grade Field Days

This year they had seven different topics featured to give the students an understanding of soils, water quality, water safety, 4-H, jobs that have to do with insects, forestry, and the history of how hay has been raised and harvested, plus how it is used.

Joe Huntsman, retired Ag teacher from Churubusco High School, took the students outside to discuss what erosion is and what can be done to prevent it from happening to our fields, yards and roads. He talked about different types of practices people can do to help stop erosion on their property to help keep our soils in place and to help keep our water clean.

Gene Haskins, contracted with the Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation District, explained to the students how much water there is in the world. But then he demonstrated how much water there really is that we can use to drink compared to all the water that is locked up in the North and South Poles and the oceans. He also explained some of the things we can do to help keep our water clean for us to be able to use.

Eric Bolt and Darren Reed, both with the DNR, came to explain to the fifth grades the importance of respecting the water when you are swimming or boating. They reviewed some of the Indiana laws concerning boating. With the cooperation of volunteer students, they showed why you should be wearing your life vest when you are riding in a boat and that the vest needs to fit you properly. They also explained things you could use in case of an emergency that might save someone from drowning.

David Addison, youth educator with Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, with the help of Gloria Reimers, Extension Assistant, gave the children a taste of what some of the 4-H projects are that have to do with nature. They had the students identify different leaves by using the “Fifty Trees of Indiana” booklet, discussed different rocks found here in Indiana, and looked at different types of butterflies also found in Indiana.

Gary Moughler who is with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) brought a video explaining numerous federal government jobs that are involved with insects. He explained why it is so important to keep our US borders and state borders safe from pests coming into our region. He had slides of various pests such as the Japanese beetle that we now have here in Indiana. There are jobs for people to inspect airplanes at the Indiana airports to monitor that Japanese beetles don’t travel to California where they don’t have the Japanese beetle yet.

Ron Myers, representing the Ag Learning Museum located at the 4-H grounds, covered the history of how hay is raised, what equipment has been used to harvest the hay over the years and what animals eat the hay crop. The students even had the chance to milk “Daisy the Cow” during their visit to the museum.

Dean Slavens, retired biology teacher, handled the forestry stop. He had numerous examples of wood, leaves, and seeds from many of the trees that are grown here in Indiana. He discussed with the students how you could tell how old a tree is by counting the growth rings in a log. He also talked about why different woods are used to make different products, such as baseball bats are made from ash because it is light weight, durable, and hard surface.

The lunch was provided and served by the Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation District’s board members and employees to the fifth graders and their teachers.

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