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Students explore environment

Bath Elementary School students make birdfeeders with bread, shortening and birdseed at the schools’ Earth Day event Friday. (WDN Photo/Kathy Schermerhorn)

“There’s a big beautiful planet in the sky … and it’s our home; it’s where we live” sang more than 100 Bath Elementary School students at the end of their Earth Day extravaganza Friday morning.

From turtles, snakes, beavers and bees to egg production, soil conservation and marine safety, the students explored a plethora of environmental subjects during the school’s Earth Day event.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade spent two hours indoors and outside visiting some of the 17 presentations organized by BES teachers Sharon Morris, Janet Courson and Heather Van Staalduinen. A few dozen parents and students from the school’s Junior Beta Club honor group helped with presentations and shepherding the students from one area to the next.

Students, teachers and volunteers alike all sported special Earth Day T-shirts donated by Gary and Sarah Baltz and painted — with a big Earth on the front — by the children.

To keep the event within the limited time allowed, each class could choose only five of the 17 presentations to attend.

“My favorite was the combine,” said fifth-grader Teagan Pilgreen. “I like farming, and my Dad farms. I learned a lot about sea turtles, too. And I liked the marine (presentation), too, ’cause I like fishing.”

“I liked the snakes and the turtles,” said first-grader Haley Ashley. “He let us touch the snake! I like being outside, too.”

When asked to cite one thing she learned that morning, Ashley said, “I want to find stuff in my backyard and recycle it.”

“My favorite was the horse,” said Pilgreen’s friend Jensen Fullwood. “I really like animals, and I want to sign up for the 4-H.”

Bath Creek Stables conducted the 4-H animal presentation with chickens, rabbits, sheep, a goat and a horse.

PotashCorp Aurora sponsored the shark reject pile, where students dug for shark’s teeth. A combine from 3-B Farms was a huge favorite. And each student made birdfeeders with bread, shortening and birdseed — one to hang in a school-yard tree and another to take home.

At the marine-safety-and-sea-life presentation, the students learned about boating safety and the importance of keeping our estuarine waters clean. “It’s very important to take care of what you’ve got” for the next generation, Eric Slade told the students.

Rangers from Pettigrew and Goose Creek state parks talked about protecting wetlands and the creatures that live there. At the Environmental Web area, children became part of the intricate web that is our environment — rain, rivers, trees, flora and fauna — learning that everything people see and do is interconnected and if one part fails, it affects another.

Creating terrariums, learning about wood carving, understanding the life of sea turtles, beekeeping and learning about wheat biotechnology were also part of the morning’s education.

At the event’s finale, the children sang “Big Beautiful Planet,” and members of the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association — Sidney Moore, Linda Boyer, Sylvia and Devon Mish and Reid Courson — played and sang traditional, environment-related songs about crawdads, rabbits, worms, birds, collards and more.