In the past couple of months, the staff here at Noble Soil and Water Conservation District has been involved in a lot of events with youth in our community. From hunter education to ag school days and Envirothon and 4-H events, there have been limitless opportunities to talk with kids about natural resources and the role they can serve in conservation.
While more seasoned farmers, ranchers and producers might easily make the connections between themselves, the land that they work on, and conservation practices they’ve installed; sometimes kids need some help seeing how practical conservation practices can influence water quality, wildlife and forage diversity and soil health.
It’s always a joy to watch the understanding come across the faces of kids as they start to see how basic ecosystems work together. From the time that kids are in kindergarten, they are exposed to a science curriculum that focuses on soil and plant health.
These foundational building blocks start early in a child’s school career and are carried on in various themes throughout the entirety of their education.
Life sciences, like plant and soil health, are an important part of the basic understanding of how ecology works, which will influence how students perceive things like agriculture, soil health and sustainability.
Exposing young students to the importance of soil and plant sciences, and then following lessons up with practical applications, like the Enviroscape and stream table demonstrations, can be very impactful for drawing a complete picture of how ecosystems work.
As students get older, and more entrenched in learning about life, biological and physical sciences there are a multitude of connections between what producers do with conservation practices, and the things students learn in school.
This allows for a lot of fun competitions like soil judging, Envirothon and other natural resources-based learning events; which in turn solidifies the classroom teaching they’d already taken in.
All this to say: from kindergarten to senior citizen, we are all learning. We could all use some freshening up on how the entirety of how our environments, and ecosystems work together; which in turn will make us more likely to appreciate how our conservation efforts impact soil health, wildlife and forage diversity and water quality.
When you come across a kid that has the desire to learn, especially about the importance of farming and conservation, be sure to take the time and foster that desire to learn. If we don’t start training up the next batch of producers and conservationists, our farms and food supply could be at a big loss for workers, and manpower in a couple of decades, or less.
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