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Extension service hosts Field Day for fifth graders

NATCHEZ — Nicholas Floyd — a McLaurin Elementary School fifth-grader — stood grinning just outside the Adams County Extension building Wednesday while Becky Anderson of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians placed a deer pelt over his head to demonstrate how Native Americans wore them as a disguise to hunt.

“But how do deer walk?” Anderson said, addressing other students gathered around to listen. “Do they walk upright on their hind legs like people?”

“No,” the students said in unison.

To make the disguise more effective, Anderson instructed Floyd to hunch over as far as he could.

“Don’t put your knees down though. You also have to be able to run and throw the atlatl,” Anderson said, handing him the long spear that Native Americans would have used to hunt. “It’s not easy, is it?”

Anderson’s demonstration was one of many that fifth-grade students at Cathedral and McLaurin elementary schools witnessed during Adams County Youth Conservation Field Day — an annual educational program hosted jointly by members of the Adams County Extension and Soil and Water Conservation services.

“This program was started years ago to educate youth about conservation practices, the importance of agriculture and healthy living,” said Jason Jones, Adams County extension agent. “We invite all fifth-grade students every fall.”

Jones said students were able to receive hands-on learning experiences about ATV safety, animal care and Mississippi plants and wildlife from members of the Adams and Jefferson county extension services, Alcorn State University extension service, the Grand Village and the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation and Forestry commissions.

Students listened while Suzanne Cook of the Adams County Soil and Water Conservation service held up various animal skeletons and furs.

“Look at the webbed-toes on this footprint,” Cooks said, pointing to a cast of a beaver footprint. “Where do you think he lives?”

Students eagerly raised their hands and answered, “the water.”

With the skulls, Cook demonstrated how meat-eating animals are leaner and have sharper teeth compared to vegetarians.

“I learned how the people used to hunt a long time ago,” said Kentrell Clark of McLaurin Elementary School. “It was fun.”

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