By Chuck Bailey
The Choctaw Plaindealer
5th graders from Ackerman, Weir and French Camp Elementary Schools participated in the annual Conservation Carnival held Thursday, September 24th at Choctaw Lake.
Judy Briggs, District Coordinator for the Choctaw County Soil & Water Conservation District puts on the program every year. “We really start working with them in the fourth grade, going to the schools and giving talks about conservation,” Briggs said. “This is a good age to begin making them aware about nature and conserving our resources. At our carnival we also like to give them safety tips on various subjects.”
New to the conservation carnival this year was 4 County Electric. Safety Coordinator Joe Miller gave a very informative presentation on electrical safety. Using three cut-off light poles mounted to a trailer connected by wires and transformers, Joe and his staff are able to show what can happen to objects that come in contact with power lines. For instance, he cooked a hot dog to demonstrate what can happen to human flesh when it comes in contact with high voltage electricity.
The students got to enjoy hot dogs for lunch cooked the traditional way over an open grill by Mr. Ron Bennett and his staff with Choctaw County Economic Development District. “ I couldn’t do this without all my volunteers, from Ron and his people to the Chamber, Extension Service and even the FFA from the Career and Technology Center,” Briggs said
Before the students enjoyed a break and a scare by Big Foot, they were shown fire safety techniques from Billy Sullivan with the Ackerman Fire Department. Billy brought a fire truck and various forms of equipment as well as a visitor, Smokey the Bear.
After the students posed for pictures with Smokey they broke out into groups and toured seven modules. The modules included were Forestry Conservation and Fire Prevention by The Mississippi Forestry Commission. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife gave a Gun Safety presentation. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service presented two modules. Those modules were Skins and Skulls, where students learned the biology of various wildlife animals. The other module was on Soils and the various types we have in our area.
Mississippi Lignite Mining presented a module on coal mining and the conservation measures they are undertaking. The Mississippi State University/Choctaw County Extension Service also presented two modules. One on the 4-H Clubs where students got to learn what 4-H is all about and how they could begin participating. The other one was on ATV Safety and how to properly handle an ATV and the rules and regulations.
To learn more about The Choctaw County Soil & Water Conservation District please visit their website at www.choctawcoswcd.com.