Conservation Field Days give students a chance to learn about many earth-friendly topics

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Megan McAnn, a Soil and Water Technician, discusses the impact of soil erosion on the environment – both in farm fields and in cities and towns.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 25 May 2017 at 11:21 am

KNOWLESVILLE – Sixth-graders from all five school districts in Orleans County are taking part in the annual Orleans 4-H Conservation Field Days on Wednesday and today.

The event at Orleans County Fairgrounds in Knowlesville brings Cornell Cooperative Extension and many agencies in the community together. It’s a hands-on, outdoors event that allows students to interact with professionals and experts from many fields, including environmental conservation, wildlife management, energy conservation, horticulture and water/boating safety with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

“The students get a lot out of it,” said Orleans County 4-H Program Coordinator Missy Call. “It sticks with them, many people as adults remember their Conservation Field Days experience. It’s a great tradition that we are proud to keep going.”

Bob Barrus and Tyler Barrus of the Orleans County Sheriffs Department, discuss water and boating safety with students.

Students visit the log cabin on the fairgrounds and learn about the use of hunting and trapping in wildlife management. Mark Gregoire discusses the need for wildlife management and how it effects the environment.

Meaghan Boice-Green of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation helps students learn about “energy contenders.”  Students had a chance to see if their “energy company” could come out ahead in the battle for natural resources.

Siblings Andrew (back to camera) and Claudia Drechsel of Holley returned to Conservation Field Days with their heritage sheep. Both are 4-Hers and students at Holley Middle School/High School. They shared their knowledge of heritage breeds, what makes them unique and why it is important to preserve heritage breeds.

The Drechsels brought samples of the sheep’s wool for students to touch and hold. The Drechsels discussed how sheep’s wool is processed.

One of the most popular stations is station #10 – “Conserve electricity – turn off Xbox and play with a dog”.  4-Hers in the Orleans County 4-H Dog Program teach students about dog agility. Here “Gemma” runs through an obstacle course with the help of Amber Kiefer.

Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Judy Larkin shows students from Lyndonville Central School worms working to compost food scraps. Master Gardeners discussed backyard composting and vermi-composting (worm composting) – which utilizes a worm bin.

Other topics covered by educational stations included a wildlife habitat walk, green power/energy conservation, rabies with the Orleans County Health Department, mammal identification with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Sunrise Bees with information on the importance of honeybees in agricultural production as well as the importance of beekeeping to human survival.

Students from Holley, Lyndonville and Medina Central Schools visited the fairgrounds on Wednesday. Students from Kendall and Albion Central Schools will participate in Conservation Field Days today.

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