Christine Campeau, Adirondack Experience the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, details The Beaver Fur Trade.
Area school kids learned about conservation during the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual field day on October 7. The autumn weather was sunny and warm as ninety fifth and sixth graders hiked the Adirondack Ecotrail to six stations, learning about natural resources from the experts.
The Lynn Galusha Memorial Conservation Field Day turned forty-two this year. I organize the event annually, and was thrilled to return to in-person after last year’s virtual videos, and it was fantastic to see the kids, teachers, presenters, and volunteers.
Christine Campeau and Faith Ordonio, Adirondack Experience the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, described why beavers were extirpated from the Adirondacks and the important role they play in ecosystems during “The Beaver Fur Trade” talk. At the “Wetland Conservation” station, Mary Hall, Beaversprite: A Conservation Education Center of the Utica Zoo, played wetland Jenga with students who read fact cards and added or removed blocks from a tower. Wetland ecosystems are valuable, and each piece matters; removing too many blocks causes the whole system to collapse.
Mike Mulligan, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, went over the importance of forest management, including the value of trees. Emily-Bell Dinan, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, The Nature Conservancy detailed invasive spotted lanternfly and its harmful impacts.
Students saw the boat decontamination process in action at the station “Clean, Drain, Dry – Protecting Your Lake From Invasive Species.” Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute’s Kevin Kennedy, Dan Kelting, and Zoë Smith showed examples of aquatic invaders and reviewed the importance watercraft decon plays in protecting lakes. Jamila Page, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Hamilton County spotlighted “Pasture Poultry and Gardening,” and brought chickens and a portable coop to teach the importance of clean food and water to farm animals.
After lunch, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors William Farber gave a few words, and thanked all participants for attending Conservation Field Day. Dominic Arena and Timothy O’Neill of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office gave the final presentation “Boat Patrol and Safety.” They detailed what to do in an emergency and reviewed equipment all boats should stock.
“Thank you again for another great day exploring environmental issues!!” said Wheelerville Union Free School Science Teacher, Irene Sinicropi.
Students jotted down notes that will be used for entries for the fifth-grade poster and sixth-grade essay contests. Entries will be judged, and awards ceremonies scheduled to honor students’ creative work.
“The students are working diligently on their posters and are getting very excited and creative,” said Lake Pleasant Central School teacher Tyler Cline.
Entries will be judged based on rubrics, and awards ceremonies will be scheduled for each school.
There are many to thank for the success of this year’s event. Volunteers Vicki Buyce, Megan O’Connell, and Michael Witten helped with set up and take down, and took photos. The District team helped with all planning stages and day-of logistics.
Our presenters gave outstanding and engaging talks. Our students, who are the future stewards of Earth, were polite and enthusiastic. Finally, I thank our teachers for their participation in the event and contests.
The District has been working to manage and promote the wise use of natural resources in Hamilton County since 1965. For more information go to www.hcswcd.com or call 518-548-3991.
Glad to see that knowledgeable presenters are still teaching kids about conservation at these field days. During the 1960s and 1970 many local forest rangers worked closely with county cooperative extension agents to develop interesting and educational field days for local 6th graders. A mix of public and private organizations participated in these annual events with good results.
I have many fond memories of being part of the cadre of rangers assigned to teach annually at Pack Forest in Warrensburg as part of Warren County Extension Agent Andy Sprague’s field day team.