Conservation Day

On March 29, representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks visited the elementary classrooms. Michelle Gorder, Sarafina Claeys, Kalyn Bohle, Biologist Melissa Foster, and Beekeeper Mark Henning spoke to the students about various subjects. The kindergarten class enjoyed sandwiches and vegetables provided by the NRCS office. They learned that food comes from the soil, so soil is very important. They completed an activity where they used chalk dust to represent bees and brushed the dust on paper flowers to “pollinate” them as bees do.

The first grade students viewed and felt different types of seeds, which are grown in Montana such as wheat, lentils, flax, barley and alfalfa. They talked about the different parts of wheat and how it is harvested. Then they ground some wheat from which they made bread. They talked about different types of flour and the nutritional value of each. They also discussed types of soil and how it is tested to see if it is ready for planting. The first grade enjoyed eating the bread and butter from the wheat they ground into flour. The NRCS representatives taught the second grade class that plants keep soil in place. They explained that the more loosely packed the soil is, the more soil can be eroded by runoff water. They especially enjoyed learning how worms can be used not only for fishing, but they help make the soil more productive.

The third grade students learned many new facts about bees from beekeeper Mark Henning, who entertained and educated the Plevna 3rd grade class with his expertise and knowledge about bees. Do you consider yourself a busy bee? Do you feel like at the end of the day you have reached your limit? Well, before you answer that question consider these facts that were presented to the 3rd grade class. Mr. Henning For example, did you know that a bee’s wings beat 190 times/second; they fly about 15 miles per hour; they have five eyes; and they talk by dancing as they release scents, and sounds. It takes around two million flowers to make 1 lb. of honey, and 1 oz. of honey will get a bee completely around the world! WOW! No wonder we have the phrase busy as a Bee! Bees communicate where they have found food by performing a “waggle” dance, which indicates the direction of the food, by using the direction of the sun. Bees are a vital key to making sure plants are pollinated which allows plants to produce fruits and vegetables. Sunflowers, dandelions, sweet clover, and other plants attract bees. So, if you want to be a beekeeper, you can order your bees from Murdoch’s and let the buzziness begin!

Kalyn and Sarafina showed the fourth grade class a model of how far and fast gas would spread through different types of soil if there were a gas tank leak. The students learned that wells and other water sources up to a mile away could be contaminated. Biologists, Melissa Foster spoke to the fifth grade students about various types of deer. The class learned how to identify deer by their antlers and tails. They also found out that turkeys have a hunting season in the spring. All of the students enjoyed these presentations and learned a great deal about the environment.