Environmental Awareness Program for Youth
Jerry Weiss, Swine Field Specialist and Robert Behnkendorf, Kossuth County Extension Education Director, Northwest Area
The purpose of this program was to put together an educational program dealing with our rural and urban environment as it relates to our agriculture communities. The target audience is grade school youth more specifically 7th graders in the schools in Kossuth County.
Kossuth County Extension Education Director, Bob Behnkendorf is the one who originated, developed and carried out this program with help from Northwest Area Field Specialist including; Ron Hook, Paul Kassel, Dennis DeWitt and others including myself. Bob obtained financial resources from the county Farm Bureau in the form of grant dollars for several years in a row. Several other county organizations also contributed to this program in the form of handout materials. An educational packet was developed and each student receives one of these take home packets when they go through this program.
The first year Bob developed this program the target audience was adult citizens of Kossuth and surrounding counties. This first year the program was very successful. That is when the County Farm Bureau who were more than willing to continue the funding and were very agreeable to Bobs suggestion of taking this program into each of the schools in Kossuth County. It is at this point where Bob, myself and Randy Crosser who is an Environmental Specialist with Murphy-Brown, LLC Swine Operation, continue to develop and carry out this program these past two years.
- Seventh grade students from the different schools were put on school buses and given a 2 hour tour of various locations which had environmental impact. Bob, Randy and myself discussed environmental issues as we traveled as well as at the various stops.
- The stops included a 2400 head swine finishing site. Students learned the proper handling of manure as a soil nutrient. They learned about how producers develop a manure management plan. They also learned about the various practices used by producers for odor control.
- Other stops included areas showing buffer strips, conservation tillage, windbreaks, pasture management practices at cow-calf locations and also the use of wetlands and a discussion on the various government programs dealing with air, soil and water conservation.
- Each of the tours also included a stop at a municipal waste treatment facility. A discussion was held on the various regulations as they relate to human waste as related to animal waste.
- School administrators saw the value of this program and asked that we give more of these presentations. Weather conditions created a problem for continuous tours. We then created a powerpoint which Randy Crosser put together. Our teaching team now goes into the classroom and presents this educational tour through the powerpoint presentation.
- Over 200 grade school students have participated in this environmental education program.
- Murphy-Brown one of the largest swine producers in Iowa is behind this program 100% and continues to offer support through Randy Crosser.
- In February two 7th grade students were contacted by KLGA Radio in Kossuth County to do a live interview discussing this environmental awareness program. These two individuals did an excellent job of summarizing how each of us impacts the environment around us.
- This is an ongoing program with continued funding through the Farm Bureau.
160 Natural Resources and Stewardship
Page last updated:
April 11, 2008
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