Education is a big part of what soil and water conservation districts are all about. From our Conservation Field Day and FFA Land Judging competition in the fall to the variety of student contests we offer in the winter to Envirothon in the spring and YES Camp in the summer (not to mention Awards NIght, teacher workshops, classroom visits, Hay Field Day and other activities -- whew!) it's safe to say we have an extensive, year-round education program. Teachers can call on us for resource materials such as a wide variety of free posters and items from our lending library including DVDs, CDs (music) and books. Don't forget we have a Rolling Library with books on natural resources that you can borrow to keep in your classroom for up to a month.
Teachers, don't miss the many great resources you can find by visiting the list of conservation education links offered on the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NCASWCD) web site.
HAPPENINGS AND UPCOMING EVENTS:
On February 7th, six brave middle school students stood in front of a crowd and gave speeches on the water cycle, proving they’d spent hours in preparation for Awards Night, the special evening set aside by the District each year to honor students. Following the speeches, 23 awards were handed out to students who were winners in the District’s 5 separate contests: Poster, Essay, Slide Show, Public Speaking and Computer-generated Poster. The student ages ranged from 4th grade to 9th grade. We congratulate them all and want to especially thank the teachers and parents who encouraged the students to participate in the contests, entitled “Water…the Cycle of Life”.
The District also honored Janet Frazier as 2013 Conservation Teacher of the Year for her involvement in the District’s environmental education programs. Frazier, who teaches academically gifted students at Bethel and Canton Middle Schools, serves as an advisor to Envirothon teams and has her students participate in the District’s essay, slide show and public speaking contests each year.
Area 1 Contests: First place District winners of the contests described above go on to compete on the next level against students from the westernmost counties in the Area competition, sponsored by the Area I Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Haywood students did amazingly well this year, with winners of the 5th grade poster, 6th grade slide show, 7th and 8th grade speech and 9th grade computer-generated poster contests all advancing to compete in the State contests in Raleigh this May. Congratulations to all these students and the teachers and parents who supported their efforts!
The Area I Envirothon was held on March 15th at the Mountain Research Station. Fourteen Haywood middle and high school teams competed against 25 teams from surrounding counties, testing their knowledge in the five categories that make up Envirothon: Aquatics, Soils, Wildlife, Forestry and Current Environmental Issues. Only the top seven teams in each category qualify to go on to the State Envirothon, to be held April 19 – 20 in Burlington. We’re happy to report that four teams will be representing Haywood County and the District on the state level: The Inner Circle (Tuscola High), Wacky Water Weasels (Waynesville Middle School), The Red Chipmunks (Canton Middle School) and the Bethel Blue Oaks (Bethel Middle School). It should also be noted that two Tuscola teams, Finest Scientist and Aquatards came in 3rd and 4th place but won’t be traveling to Burlington since Tuscola’s prom is scheduled for the same weekend as the NC Envirothon. Tough choice, but we’re proud of all the students and their advisors and their hard work!
SUMMER CAMP: The YES (Youth Environmental Stewardship) Camp is a day camp for middle school students. Each morning we meet in the parking lot at Tuscola High School and go on a different adventure -- we may hike in the mountains, search in a stream for macroinvertebrates like mayflies and caddisflies, dig up soil to examine in a lab setting, search for salamanders at Purchase Knob, experience a big chill going down Sliding Rock or any number of other fun (and educational!) activities. The camp is led by two local high school teachers and the cost is low, thanks to a generous grant from The Pigeon River Fund. Students attend the first week in June, then the second week the following year in July. The dates for the 2013 camps are June 24th -- 28th and July 15th -- 19th. Contact Gail Heathman at
or 828-452-2741, extension 3.
The 2012 FFA Land Judging competition was held in the Iron Duff area of Haywood County on November 1st, on the property of Johnny Bruce Ferguson. Six schools competed - six senior teams and seven junior teams. Congratulations to all the winners! Our own Tuscola High School made us proud, placing first as Overall Team and also took first place in the Parkway Federation. Tuscola senior Taylor Messer was High Individual for the second year, and Jacob Hyatt, also from Tuscola, came in third, High Individual. We much appreciate all the FFA teams and their advisors who participated in the competition as well as soil scientists Kent Clary (USDA NRCS) and William Miller (NCDA&CS). Tuscola FFA advisors John Best and Beth Ross, it's a privilege to work with you in offering this event!
RESOURCE CONSERVATION WORKSHOP: Two very deserving Pisgah High School students, Megan Barrett and Christina Harvey, were chosen to represent the District and Haywood County at the 2012 RCW, held in June at North Carolina State University. The RCW is an excellent opportunity for high school students to study natural resources in-depth while spending a week with students from across the state. As Envirothon team members and former YES Campers, both girls had demonstrated interest in the environment. Congratulations to Christina who was awarded the S. Grady Lane Scholarship at the end of the workshop!
TEACHER WORKSHOPS: We're happy to set up workshops for formal and informal educators if they have a request for a particular workshop such as Food, Land & People or Project WET. The workshops are fun, informative and teachers leave with a book brimming with lesson plans to fit their needs, plus resource materials and door prizes. Just call (828-452-2741, ext. 3) or email Gail.
HAYWOOD SWCD IN THE NEWS! Click here to read a story about our summer camp, first published in The Mountaineer.
Resources for Educators, Students
Haywood SWCD sponsors the following educational activities and programs:
- Conservation Field Day for 5th graders
- Rolling Library for classroom loan
- Lending Library (videos, DVD's on a variety of natural resource-related topics)
- Envirothon Teams
- FFA Land Judging Contest for high school students
- Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Camp for 8th and 9th graders
- Poster Contest for 3rd, 4th & 5th graders
- Essay Contest for 6th graders
- Slide Show (PowerPoint) Contest for 6th graders (NEW!)
- Speech Contest for 7th and 8th graders
- Computer generated Poster Contest for 9th graders (NEW!)
- Enviroscape Demonstrations (all ages - water pollution)
- Classroom visits
- Resource Conservation Workshop at NCSU
- Workshops for teachers
Haywood SWCD is pleased to join other agencies and organizations in the following projects:
- Hay Field Day -- Sponsored by the Mountain Research Station, NC Dept. of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service and Haywood SWCD
- Ag Career Day for middle and high school agriculture students
- Kids in the Creek -- Sponsored by Haywood Waterways
Read about our Pink Francis Memorial Scholarship!
We are available to do programs on a variety of environmental issues for groups of all ages. Just call us.