Wild about the environment

Published 9:22 pm Monday, November 5, 2012

John Small Elementary students Alondra de la Cruz (left) and Doriscel Zenil take a closer look at the animals on display in the Sensory Safari Exhibit at last week’s annual Environmental Field Days at Goose Creek State Park. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)


Students in Beaufort County always stand out from the school groups Gerald Klauss sees throughout the state.

Klauss does outreach for the Wildlife Resources Commission’s inland fisheries department. He was in Beaufort County last week for the Soil and Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) annual Dan Windley Environmental Field Days at Goose Creek State Park.

“I do things like this all across the state and when I come down here, it seems like the kids have an appreciation for their environment,” Klauss said. “I get a lot of give and take. I learn things when I come out here, too.”

Over the course of four days, about 650 fifth grade students visited field days. Stations were set up throughout the park to teach the students about the area’s wildlife. They were challenged to spot wildlife hiding in the woods, toured exhibits of the animals that are native to North Carolina.

A station about watershed gave students tips like using vinegar to kill weeds and newspaper to line flowerbeds. The students also learned why they should only wash cars on the grass.

John Small Elementary teacher Kathy Griffin takes her classes every year.

“I love it,” she said. “They learn about their environment and hopefully, how to appreciate it. The guys and ladies make it so interesting.”

As Brice Ingram, J.D. Swain and Christopher Mills examined the pelts that hung in the Sensory Safari Exhibit, hunting education specialist Chris Kent quizzed them and helped them identify each one.

He got a big kick out of sharing his love of wildlife with students from Beaufort County Schools because it brought back memories. He remembered being just as enamored with animals as the students who toured his exhibit.

Griffin said the students were most excited when they reached Kent’s safari exhibit.

“They’re just beside themselves,” Griffin said.