A natural fit: annual event exposes students to conservation, environmental stewardshipPublished 9:12pm Thursday, November 7, 2013
For each school year’s fifth-grade students, the yearly Dan Windley Field Days at Goose Creek State Park is a new experience.
Not so for many of the instructors who work at the stations students visit during the field days. Most of them, if not all, are veterans when it comes to working in fields where they are exposed to different environments almost daily.
John Fullwood, superintendent of Goose Creek State Park, said there’s a simple explanation as to why the park hosts the event each year: “It’s a natural fit, us being a state park and about stewardship of the environment. It’s just a perfect fit.”
This year, there were only five stations: forestry, soil and water conservation, soils, wetlands and wildlife. A problem with a vehicle prevented the mobile marine-fisheries station from traveling to the sixth-annual Dan Windley Field Days. About 635 students, chaperones and guests were expected to attend the event, now in its sixth year. The students rotate among the stations.
“The students are learning about conservation, soils, forestry, wetlands. It covers the things they don’t get in the classroom because of all they do in the classroom. This enhances their science in the classroom. It makes them more aware of their surroundings and things they can carry into the future when they become adults,” said Becky McRoy, education coordinator for the Beaufort Soil and Water Conservation District.
McRoy was the instructor at the soil and water conservation station inside the Education Center at the park.
At the Sensory Safari exhibit provided by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Parks Moss told students that every thing in the mobile exhibit can be found in North Carolina, but perhaps not in all areas of the state. Moss encouraged the students to touch the mounted critters and other exhibits.
“All I ask is just be careful with them. Some of them have been touched a lot, and they’re getting beat up,” he said.
And touch the mounted animals they did. Some rubbed antlers. Others rubbed waterfowl beaks. One girl rubbed the nose of a fox.
“They’re real soft!” exclaimed a girl who rubbed the feathers of a swan.