Students explore ecology at Mirror Lake Park

5th and 6th grade students from Hettinger Public School escaped the classroom for a day and, instead, had the opportunity to do their learning at Mirror Lake Park.

Frank Turner

The Adams County Soil Conservation District hosted their 2019 Ecology Education event to teach kids different aspects of soil science, ecology, and natural resources.
“We talk about natural resources and try to get the kids to realize the importance of them in their environment and ultimately the world,” said Event Coordinator Gail Froelich. “We host this event to give kids a general education on how people their effect on the environment.”
During the event, kids stopped at 6 different stations throughout the day to learn varying science lessons from different experts. Students spent 45 minutes at each station listening to presentations, watching experiments, or participating in hands-on activities.
Outreach representatives from different state departments each highlighted their own individual ecology lessons for the kids at each station, including individuals from the NRCS, ND Game & Fish, North Dakota Department of Health, NDSU, ND Forrest Service, NDSU Extension, and VSCU.
Froelich said that the experts were more than willing to teach the kids ecology lessons.
“We just had to reach out, and the different departments each sent their own volunteers,” said Froelich. “It’s great to have specialized people who can come in and give their own presentations.”
At the wetlands station, Pat Lothspeich with ND Game & Fish and the kids put on waiters and netted up small aquatic creatures in Mirror Lake. Kids then collected the specimens and learned about the aquatic invertebrates.
The prairie station, manned by Extension Agent Hannah Nordby and NRCS representative Amanda Berg, gave kids the opportunity to create their own pretend pastures, learn about grazing rotation, and indentify prairie plants. The woodlands and prairie waters stations also taught kids about the importance of their respective environments.
Lastly, the soils and water stations, run by representatives from the ND Department of Health and NRCS, both entertained and taught kids using a small experiment to simulate rain and land erosion.
“Kids love to have experiments that they can see and interact with,” said Froelich. “This event gives them a chance to learn and engage in a different way.”

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