Students get hands-on learning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NATCHEZ — David Carter was supposed to head up Adams County Conservation Field Day Tuesday, but the real star of the show was Bobby the Bass and the other puppet residents from Rivertown.

The puppet show addressed the effects construction and progress can have on the water supply. But the show was only a small part of the learning station that taught Adams County fifth graders about the water cycle.

The group leaders marched around the room taking children by the along the way. As they did, they discussed different kinds of pollutants such as oil, ink, antifreeze, pesticide and fertilizer, and handed out placards with the images of the pollutants. The exercise showed how easily water can be tainted.

Email newsletter signup

Carter, director of the Adams County Extension Service, said the field day allows students to have a hands-on experience with things that they learn in the classroom every day.

“Kids will remember this a lot better than they remember what they learn in science class,” Carter said. “Kids really get into it. They learn some cool stuff.”

The program also teachers students about conservation, which is very important, he said.

“It’s all about teaching them to be better stewards of the land,” Carter said.

The six stations focused on wildlife, erosion, soil types, leaves and trees, tractor safety and the water supply.

Jordan Grady, a fifth grader at Morgantown Elementary, said he enjoyed the section on animals.

The wild animal display table had two mounted ducks, a stuffed bass, several snakes skins and mammal skins, along with skulls from alligators and birds.

“I learned that anytime you go into the wild, if you hear a rattle snake shake his rattle, it’s really a warning,” Grady said.

Barry Pessoney, a wildlife biologist from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, ran the station and said he tries to teach the children about native vs. invasive species, predators vs. prey and land based vs. aquatic animals.

“I let them touch and feel the different (animals),” Pessoney said. “In the end, I inevitably get the, ‘and ah, and ah, my dad shot (one of those).”

Approximately 350 fifth graders from Morgantown Elementary, Trinity Episcopal Day School and Adams County Christian School came to the event, along with several Cathedral High School students who worked as leaders and nursing students from Alcorn State. Attendance has increased every year.

“I’m assuming they all like it because they keep coming back with bigger and bigger numbers,” Carter said.