Students learn about environment at workshopPublished 7:06pm Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Two local students received some hands-on experience in a wide range of conservation topics, and one came home with a $100 cash prize and a $500 scholarship.
Jalynne Waters of Southside High School and Kathryn Wescott of Washington High School participated in the Resource Conservation Workshop from June 22 to June 27 with 85 other students across the state who applied through their area’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts, said Beaufort Soil and Water Conservation District Education Coordinator Becky McRoy. The students stayed on campus at the university and got a glimpse of the college experience, Waters said.
“I originally applied because I wanted a little bit of experience of college life and I wanted to see if a career in agriculture is something I want to do,” Waters said. “I think State is a really good place to go if you want to do something like this for a career. Before, State wasn’t even one of my choices, but now I’m really considering going to State.”
Sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other contributors, resource professionals, university staff and counselors provided classroom instruction and outdoor study in the environmental sciences, including soil fertility, waste management, forestry, agriculture and wildlife and fisheries management, Waters said. Students spent most of the time outside, engaged in hands-on projects.
“It was a really good workshop,” Waters said. “Because of this workshop, I’m really considering becoming a soil conservationist.”
Waters said she learned about soil composition through taking soil samples as well as how to examine the color of the soil to determine its texture and structure.
“It would let you know what type of soil it is and what it is best used for,” Waters said.
Throughout the workshop, the students visited different sites such as the Dairy Research and Teaching Farm at N.C. State and Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Wake Forest, Waters said. At the farm, students were taught about North Carolina being the top meat-producing state and, in turn, the top waste-producing state.
“We looked at the lagoons and machines they use to separate the liquid from solids in the waste,” Waters said. “They taught us the importance of managing our waste properly.”
Waters said the students were also taught how to identify trees and how to use a Biltmore stick, a tool used to measure various tree dimensions.
The last day of the workshop, students were given an 80-question multiple choice test that included a written exam asking about their interests in attending the university, pursuing a career relevant to the workshop and what they liked about the workshop, Waters said. A panel of judges evaluated the essays and Wescott was awarded first place, receiving the scholarship money to attend a school of her choice and cash prize.
Wescott’s mother, Ginger, said her daughter, a rising junior, participates in Envirothon, Science Olympiad and has interests as well as prior knowledge regarding environmental issues.
“As a family, that’s what we tend to do,” Ginger WEscott said. “Most of the extracurricular activities she picks tend to be science things.”
McRoy said the BSWCD was thrilled to have sent both students to the workshop as well as Wescott receiving first place for her written exam.
“I don’t think we’ve had a student place in previous years,” McRoy said. “We hope to get the next generation out there to be our next conservationists.”
Rising freshmen, sophomores and juniors interested in attending the 2015 Resource Conservation Workshop may contact the Beaufort Soil and Water Conservation District office at 155C Airport Rd, Washington or call 252-946-4989, ext. 3.