Baldwin students learn about soil conservation
As the water begins to flow through the stream model trailer, Patty Ogle points out to the Baldwin Elementary School fourth graders how the banks are affected by the running water.
"See how it undercuts right there?" Ogle, district technician for the Douglas County Conservation District, asks the group of students.
Fingers begin to point and cries of surprise are emitted from the students as the water eats away at the banks and plants begin to tumble into the stream.
The stream model, designed to show stream and wetland dynamics, was one of the five stations set up Thursday and Friday to teach area students about soil conservation.
Last week's soil conservation program, which was set up on a farm south of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 59, was sponsored by the Douglas County Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Kansas Geological Survey.
Marion Springs Elementary and BES fourth graders, as well as several Lawrence fourth graders, had the opportunity to go through each of the five stations for a closer look at water and soil conservation problems and solutions.
"We're here to teach kids about soil conservation and water quality," Ogle said. "We found that fourth grade is a good time to first introduce them to these concepts."
The five stations included the stream model, the enviroscape, which was a model of a water shed to help illustrate how the water moves and what ends up in drinking water, the rainfall simulator, which addressed farming techniques to stop soil erosion, the ground water flow model, which showed how water moves underground, and the soil probe truck, which gave students a chance to see the separate layers of soil.
Ogle said the soil conservation information had been presented in the schools in the past, but this was the first time students were able to go to the farm and see the demonstrations first hand.
"Hopefully, we'll expand on this and maybe go to an all-day thing in the future," she said.
By being able to see the models, Ogle said students were able to see how the concepts applied to their own yards or farms.
"If we ask them about things in their own yards, they say things about fertilizers or pouring things down drains," she said. "We try to relate it to everyday life and then they've all got stories to tell."