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Students from around the county get close to nature at West Point Lake Dam

WEST POINT — Fourth graders throughout Chambers and Troup Counties received an up-close, and personal experience with nature Friday morning at Hardley Creek Park near West Point Lake and Dam.

The event sponsored by Valley RC&D Council, Chambers County Forestry Planning Committee, Chambers 4-H Center Outreach and the Chambers County Extension Office through Auburn University.

Students rotated through four stations at the park, each touching on a different aspect of nature.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers taught students about wildlife habitat and land management practices. Auburn University Soils taught students about water quality concepts, how to test for good water quality for drinking water and how daily decisions made by humans influences the quality of drinking water.

Katie Hill, 4-H agent assistant with the extension office, and Jordan Graves of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Office, showed students different animal skins and skulls native to east Alabama. Students were able to touch the skins for an actual hands-on experience.

Chambers County Extension Executive Director Ken McMillian said the point of Friday was to have students in the field rather than reading a textbook.

“If they can have that tactile, hands-on experience, it connects to certain type s of learners a lot better than reading about it in a book,” he said. “They can feel it, see it, touch it, smell it, and it opens up their eyes a bit more.”

Another station taught students about technical uses of wood, and another had an interactive experience for students about bird migration. The students started at a tree and had directions to follow to complete the migration path. Each sign taught them a bit about why the bird migrates the way it does.

The final station, depending on what group the students were in, taught students about different raptors.

Much of the funding for the event came from the Coosa Valley RC&D Council. At the park Friday, Rep. Debbie Wood, R-Valley, and Rep. Bob Fincher, R-Wedowee, attended to take part in a check presentation to the extension office and interact with children.