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7th graders enjoy Eco Ed day at Balta Dam

By Staff | Sep 23, 2016

The 7th grade class at Rugby Jr. High attended the annual field trip to Balta Dam, as part of Eco Ed Day, on Friday, September 16th.

7th and 8th grade Science teacher, Melissa Goddard, took 50 students from Rugby. Eight students from Wolford’s 7th and 8th grade class also attended the trip.

The students focused on five different elements: water, wetlands, soil, trees and grass.

At each station, the students were given lessons on the specific elements and had activities to complete.

The students took a total of two tests during the trip. The first, before any activity began, was to test initial knowledge of each station. The second test was given at the day’s completion to see what the students had learned while on the trip.

NRCS’s Michelle Lowman helped run the event and came up with prize ideas for those who do well on the tests. “As long as the weather cooperates, we do it every year,” she said. “The kids like it. They pay attention, and they get prizes.”

Prizes included pencil bags, book covers and water bottles.

At the water station, led by Larry Brooks of Bottineau College, students tested water quality and looked for fish and other wet creatures. They were able to get down into the water and pull living things from under surface to look at using nets.

Some students found minnows and frogs, while others found Back Swimmers, poisonous fish.

At the wetlands station, J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge’s Kenneth Anthony Fornes taught the students about the types and characteristics of different wetlands. He explained to them what wetlands are, what they do, and where they are located.

The soil station was headed by Bottineau College’s Angela Bartholomay, who taught students about what soil does for the environment and its components, which include minerals and rocks, living things and moisture. The students then did an experiment combining soil and water to find the spaces in the soil and its porosity.

Jeff Smette, Nursery Manager at the Towner State Nursery, led the trees station. There, students learned about types of trees, factors that can be used to determine those types, characteristics of bark and leaves, and growth based on weather conditions.

At the grass station, students learned about types, characteristics, differences and identifiers of grass, both common and native. NRCS’s Cheryl Jacobs led the discussion.

“Things you cannot do in the classroom, that’s why I love this,” Goddard said. “I wish we could do more field trips like this.”

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