Friday, May 14, 2021, Paulding Soil and Water Conservation District hosted the 6th Annual 5th Grade Field Day. This event was a welcomed respite from an uncertain school year of quarantines and mask wearing. 5th graders from all over Paulding County were invited spend the day outside at the Black Swamp Nature Center. School groups rotated through 5 different stations learning about Forestry, Water Quality, Soil Health, Wildlife, and Livestock Management. These sessions were taught by experts including Kayla Miller of Northwest State, Bruce Clevenger from Defiance OSU Extension and Rachel Cochran from the Paulding OSU Extension, Athena Brown from Cooper Farms and Amanda Podach from Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District.
In the past this event has been a full day involving eight speakers, but this year was reorganized to keep groups smaller and to be able to effectively manage social distancing. Half the school groups were brought to the Nature Center in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. This allowed the school groups the space they needed to spread out. When asked about the event, Carter Baumle, from Divine Mercy said, “he liked being outside and walking the trails.” His favorite station was the wildlife station, where he “could see the animal furs and the animals of nature.” Activities at other stations included demos on how organic matter helps to create healthy soil which in turn creates cleaner water. The “Lake in a Bag” hands on demonstration that showed kids how humans everyday actions contribute to the quality of our drinking water. The forestry presentation showed kids how everyday products like coffee and cocoa come from all over the world and that we must obtain these products sustainably so that they are available for in the future. The Livestock Management presentation allowed kids to experience some of what goes into growing and managing healthy livestock for human consumption. Livestock and its management are a critical part of agriculture and conservation and must be carefully managed.
Studies have shown that getting kids outside and connected to nature is important for their growth and development. It is also important for the conservation and protection of natural resources. This event supports both concepts. “We look forward to bringing these kids outside and giving them an opportunity to experience nature for themselves. We believe that this is one of the best ways to learn about our natural resources and develop an appreciation for them.” says Daniel Foust, Administrator, Paulding Soil & Water Conservation District. The SWCD was able to share this message with approximately 200 students on Field Day.
The Paulding SWCD office puts this program on with the support of the Paulding OSU Extension office, all of the presenters and their organizations, and the continued generosity of event sponsors: Cooper Family Foundation, Paulding Putnam Electric, Baughman Tile, Williamson Insurance, Haviland Drainage, and Ag Credit.