Over 500 Tucumcari Elementary School children took part in Earth Day Thursday at the school district’s “Outdoor Classroom.”
The students went to the green expanse just north of the elementary school campus and learned about a variety of outdoor related subjects set up at six different stations spread across the western quarter of the “classroom.” “I think this is great” said area conservationist Lem Chesher about the way the children were going from station to station learning about such things as hypothermia, butterflies, soils, fossils, water, and noxious weeds among other things. “Look how excited they are.”
Chesher was one of the many volunteers who came from as far away as Albuquerque to take part in the Earth Day educational activity hosted by Tucumcari Elementary School under the direction of teacher/administrator Tonya Hodges.
“I think it went extremely well,” said Hodges. Fellow elementary school teacher Ruth Ann Litchfield could not agree more.
“It was wonderful,” said Litchfield. “It was so very well organized and the kids were so excited about it. They just loved it.” In fact Litchfield said they enjoyed it so much there was some trouble in reaching a consensus as to what was the best. “When we got back to the classroom and started talking about what they enjoyed most every one of the students had a different choice at which was the best. So they like liked them all.”
Portions of classes would stop at one station and learn about one of the aspects being presented at the Earth Day activity using hands-on inquiry methods such as putting their hands in ice water to learn about hypothermia from a New Mexico State Park Ranger and Altrusa volunteers. After 15 minutes the group would move on to the next station where Quay County Extension Agent Pete Walden let the young students learn about weeds and grasses that are prevalent in the area.
After another 15 minutes, the children would move on to the next station and learn about water and water pollution hosted by Carlos Romero. Next the elementary school students would move on to a site dealing with fossils and dinosaurs in the area hosted by representatives of Mesalands Community College. “We had so many fantastic volunteers,” said Hodges about the many different individuals and groups like Altrusa and honor society members who stepped in to help out. “They really made it a success.”