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Tue, Feb 20, 2018 07:19 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-10-10 tracking communities section
Conservation district hosts field day

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PAINTSVILLE The Johnson County Conservation District sponsored a field day for all fourth-graders in Johnson County on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Johnson County Park at Thealka.

Schools attending were Central Elementary, Flat Gap Elementary, Highland Elementary, Johnson County Christian School, Meade Memorial Elementary, Paintsville Elementary, Porter Elementary and W. R. Castle Elementary. There were 401 students in attendance.

The 20 teachers attending received a canvas bag filled with teacher resource materials from participating agencies and educational materials on soils and weather provided with funds from PRIDE through an educational grant. The PRIDE Education Grant also provided funds to help purchase the bird feeders, soil profile tubes and individual student booklets on soils.

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Buses of students with their teachers and other chaperones began arriving at the park at 8:15 and spent the day listening to presenters, doing hands-on activities and enjoying the day outdoors. Students made a bird feeder from a kit created by the students of Chuck Wetzel and Tim Kirk at Johnson Central High School vocational education and FFA classes. FFA student volunteers helped the fourth-graders complete the bird feeders made from recycled cross sections of maple trees recycled plastic sports drink bottles and baler's twine. Students also made a sample soil profile tube with the help of Alan Moore, NRCS soil scientist.

Cathy Neeley from the East Kentucky Science Center helped the students learn more about rocks and geology. Mike Burchett, also from the East Kentucky Science Center, helped the students look through a telescope to see sunspots. Mary Jo Kirk and Angie Lemaster with Saving Appalachian Resources lead the students in an activity explaining a land fill by creating one in a cup with materials the students could eat like a dessert. Bill Riffe, a park ranger, stationed at Paintsville Lake, demonstrated the need for floatation jackets and other water safety tips.

Meteorologist Phil Hysell from NOAA in Jackson helped students learn about weather, weather forecasting and information about the NOAA office in Jackson. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture had two stations for students and teachers to attend. Jason Hodge talked with students about ATV, tractor and lawn mower safety. Eunice Shlappi brought "Kentucky Kate," the departments demonstration cow. Students learned about milk, the dairy industry and how to milk a cow.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry with area foresters Chuck Noble, Laura Dively and Adam McGuire spoke with the students about how foresters deal with wildfires and demonstrated the equipment used including the portable fire suppression vehicle. Jason Plaxico and Herbert Adams Jr. with the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife spoke to participants about the wildlife in our area with special emphasis on the black bear. Students learned about a watershed with a demonstration using an EnviroScape by Clark Allison and Pauline VanHoose from the Big Sandy Resource Conservation and Development Council.

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Johnson Central High School sent 39 student volunteers to help with the day. Earth Team volunteers Peggy and Chuck Centers and John Clark also made the day possible. Paintsville Fire and Rescue members Matt Stapleton and Kirby Preece were on hand in case first aid was needed and to show the students about the ambulance. The Johnson County Conservation District Board of Supervisors appreciate all time participating agencies gave to the students and teachers to make this day of learning experiences such a big success.


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