Conservation counts at TES

By Angela Peacock

New Mexico’s infamous wind was able to serve a purpose other than being just an annoyance.

About 300 Tucumcari elementary children fought to keep dirt from their eyes as they gathered at the Kiva Learning Center in the heart of the Outdoor Classroom for a lesson from district conservationist Richard Bull.

Bull discussed how wind and water both erode soil. He told the children how important it is for everyone to do their share in protecting the environment.

He then showed them an area of the Outdoor Classroom where there was about two weeks worth of wheat growth, and explained that by planting the wheat seeds he gave the ground a “blanket” to help prevent it from erosion.

To give a more in depth description of wind and soil erosion, Bull placed a handful of dirt on a table top and then poured a pitcher of water on the soil to show the children how the wet dirt turned into mud and ran off the table.

Again, Bull placed another handful of dirt on the table but this time covered it with a green towel, which he told the children symbolized grass. He poured another pitcher of water over the covered soil, which helped prove his point that by putting a “blanket” over the dirt it didn’t turn into runny mud and slide off the table.

After Bull’s soil conversation lecture, he gave the children each a handful of wheat seed to spread along certain tilled areas in hope that someday the children will all have a pleasant grassy area to set on when they visit the Outdoor Classroom.

“Everybody has a part in preserving our environment and everyone whether they are tiny, tiny, up to age 99 and older,” Bull said.

After scattering their wheat seeds across open areas of the four-year-old Outdoor Classroom, Victoria Kryn, 10, and Rebecca Vega, 11, TES fifth graders, claimed they had a better understanding of why its important to protect our homeland in windy New Mexico from completely eroding away.

“If we protect the environment it will make it look beautiful,” Victoria said.

Vega agreed, and while whispering to her friend about why its important to plant wheat they unanimously agreed that they weren’t exactly sure but would guess it’s too keep the soil healthy.

The younger children at Thursday’s activity might not have understood everything Bull taught about conservation, but fifth grade teacher Laura Mills said they will have a positive memory about the Outdoor Classroom at a young age.

“Hands on activities are always going to stick with you more,” Mills said. “I can still remember my outdoor classroom in Lubbock where each class was responsible for taking care a different type of animal and then sometimes we’d switch animals. It was a great learning experience.”