Gum, crayons, cinnamon, cell phones, ink, makeup, and toilet paper all of one thing in common. Can you guess what it is? They are all products made from trees.
In October, the fifth grade classes at Barbour County Intermediate and the Lakeside School spent time learning all about the forest and the resources it provides during the Barbour County Extension Office’s Classroom in the Forest program. Students were invited out to the Wehle Center on Oct. 23 to experience the forest first-hand.
Students arrived at the Wehle Center spending the day in the forest learning about animal habitats, identifying trees and birds, reptiles, forest management practices, and different plant and animal species that call the forest home. They took a hike through the forest playing nature bingo. They learned where gopher tortoises live and how important forestry management is for the survival of the species. Toni Bruner, Auburn University Museum of Nature History, brought an assortment of native reptiles including snakes and turtles that many students held or touched.
Barbour County Foresters showed the students how to manage a prescribe burn and discussed how to put out large fires. Game Wardens brought their confiscation trailer. This trailer is filled with animals that were killed illegally in the state. Natural Resource Conservation Service employees played “Oh Deer” with the students. This game is a simulation game where students become “deer” and components of habitat. This activity emphasizes the most essential things that animals need in order to survive. This game will also show how animal populations increase and decrease from year to year and that limiting factors are the cause of the population change.
Special thanks to all 30-plus volunteers that made the day possible! Natural Resource Conservation Service, Barbour County Soil and Water Conservation District, Barbour County Forestry Commission, Wehle Center Staff, Alabama Forestry Association, Auburn University Museum of Natural History, and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Thanks to funds from United Way, each student was provided with a T-shirt.