Fox Valley students receive hands-on lesson in conservation

Over the course of 3 days, close to 1,000 5th and 6th graders will get closer to nature
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 3:08 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The mission is to teach youth in the Fox Valley about the importance of our environment.

Over the course of three days this week, close to 1,000 fifth and sixth graders are taking part in Conservation Field Days.

At Homestead Meadows Farm outside Appleton, nature is the classroom.

And for some of these students, it’s an eye-opening experience.

“Some kids that grow up in town or in the city, they may not get out to a farm or out to see the environment or nature on a regular basis, so this is just a great opportunity to get them out and learn about different aspects of conservation,” says Greg Baneck, Outagamie County Conservationist.

During their field trip, students visit nine different stations, each with a specific focus on conservation.

“We have forestry, recycling, pollinators, they learn about pond and wildlife, water quality, we have a conservation technology station, a soil station where they actually get in a soil pit and look at the different soil horizons, and a food production station where they learn about where their food comes from, not just the store,” explains Baneck.

Hosted by the Outagamie County Land Conservation Department, Conservation Field Days is a partnership with government agencies and conservation groups and alliances that supply volunteers for all the stations.

Teachers appreciate their expertise.

“I think hearing from real experts is the key, there’s a lot of people out here that know a lot more than I do, so to hear it from someone who’s actually doing the work, it hits home a little bit better,” says Marni Mahoney, Columbus Elementary 5th grade teacher.

“I’ve actually learned quite a bit from this field trip, how wetlands work and why they’re important, I’ve learned about how the rainwater cycle works and how water will pick up waste, and when they go back into lakes,” says 6th grader Isaac Armstrong.

It’s a field trip day these students say they won’t soon forget.

Students leave the classroom to learn the reasons for and methods of conservation