Over the past two months, staff from the Noble Soil and Water Conservation District have been involved in many events with young people in our community. From hunter education to farm school days and Envirothon and 4-H events, there have been endless opportunities to talk with kids about natural resources and the role they can play in conservation.
While more experienced farmers, ranchers and producers could easily make connections between themselves, the land they work on and the conservation practices they have put in place; Sometimes children need help seeing how hands-on conservation practices can influence water quality, wildlife and forage diversity, and soil health.
It’s always a joy to see understanding dawn on children’s faces as they begin to see how basic ecosystems work together. From the moment children are in kindergarten, they are exposed to a science-based curriculum focused on soil and plant health.
These fundamental building blocks begin early in a child’s school career and continue in various themes throughout their education.
Life sciences, such as plant and soil health, are an important part of a basic understanding of how ecology works, which will influence how students think about things like agriculture, plant health, soils and sustainability.
Exposing young students to the importance of soil and plant science and then following the lessons with practical applications, like demonstrations of Enviroscape and stream tables, can be very impactful in painting a full picture of the functioning of ecosystems.
As students grow and become more engaged in learning life, biological, and physical sciences, there are myriad connections between what producers do with conservation practices and what students learn. at school.
This allows for lots of fun competitions like Soil Judging, Envirothon, and other natural resource-based learning events; which in turn solidifies the classroom instruction they had already received.
All that to say: from kindergarten to senior, we all learn. We could all use a little refresher on how the whole of how our environments and ecosystems work together; which, in turn, will make us more likely to appreciate the impact of our conservation efforts on soil health, wildlife and forage diversity, and water quality.
When you meet a child who has a desire to learn, especially about the importance of agriculture and conservation, be sure to take the time and nurture that desire to learn. If we don’t start training the next group of growers and conservationists, our farms and our food supply could suffer a significant loss of workers and labor in decades or less.
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