May 15 was Conservation Day at the Huron County Fairgrounds when almost four hundred fourth-graders from around the county gathered to learn about the natural world.
Lori Miller, a district technician with Huron Soil and Water, organizes the event each year, and she said students came from South Central, Western Reserve, Immaculate Conception and Ridge in Bellevue, Maplehurst and Trinity in Norwalk and Norwalk Catholic. Several homeschoolers also participated.
The students moved from place to place in the fairgrounds listening to presentations by experts in the fields of forestry, food, wildlife, soils, reptiles, recycling, water, soybeans, fruit and other topics.
Celine Hemminger, who works for Erie Soil and Water, was one of the presenters, and she showed the students how quickly ground water percolates through the layers of soil and how it can carry pollutants with it.
In a session about water conservation, the students learned it actually takes less water to wash a full load of dishes in a dishwasher than it does to wash them by hand. They were also reminded to fix leaks and to not let the garden hose run.
In a session held under a leafy, green tree, another group learned that trees need water, sun, soil and air to thrive, and trees in Ohio can live to be 100 years old. They were also told that except for pines, trees don't have to be planted in forest areas in Ohio because nature takes care of that all by herself.
Bailey Willett, of Greenwich, said she learned there are more different kinds of trees in Ohio than there were 100 years ago. Nathan Buchanan, also of Greenwich, said he was learning about how trees grow and also about crops and livestock.
Nathan's mom Stephanie was spending the day with her son and she said the kids were really listening to all the presentations and, "It's been very informative."
Miller said she was pleased with the turnout for the event and feels it is a valuable experience for the kids because, "they get actual hands-on experience with natural resources and learn how they relate to them."