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Valley View students celebrate the earth

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By Natasha LaFayette

natasha@lafollettepress.com

 

Along the hallways at Valley View Elementary are blue and green colored earths and happy birthday Earth posters. These warm wishes to the planet are part of the schools extended Earth Day celebration.

Teachers at Valley View have taken the holiday to a new meaning by creating fun class projects where preserving the Earth’s resources are the main objective.

On May 1, the school celebrated Earth Day with several visitors. The educators included Cumberland Gap Park Ranger Scott Teodorski who spoke to the children about animal bones and footprints. The children touched the furs of foxes and admired the skull of a bear.

Teodorski taught the students about area wildlife using a variety of hands-on items.

Amanda Gurganus, Indian Mountain State Park ranger, talked to the students about native snakes. She brought an albino corn snake to show the children.

Teaching the students about fossils and geography was Geologist Charles “Boomer” Winfrey. He compared the underwater fossils to the popular cartoon species in SpongeBob Squarepants, relating the lecture to something the children would be familiar with.

Winfrey is invested with the Valley View students through an afterschool science program for grades three through five.

Teaching about soil and water quality were Soil Scientist Dillon Gray and Soil Conservationist Haydee Thillet, with the department of agriculture. During the workshop held in the library, students held dirt in their hands and watched the journey of rainwater travel through the landscape.

Also participating in the Earth Day activities were Ken Cutsinger with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Campbell County Environmental Officer Glennis Monday.

Cutsinger and his dog Macy showed the procedure of evidence recovery and wildlife detection.

“Macy did several tricks for the children,” said Nature Center Coordinator Jim Robinson.

Monday shared his experience of monitoring for litter in the county. He talked to the children about the dangers of litter.

The six instructors filled the imaginations of Valley View students with thoughts of an earth free from trash and pollution.

Though Earth Day is only one day out of the year, the students at Valley View are practicing saving the earth through daily recycling and composting efforts. Teachers also assign projects using recyclable materials throughout the year.

These extra efforts by Valley View administrators have allowed them to feature a nature center and several walking trails to benefit area residents and students.

Robinson, coordinator of the yearly Earth Day celebration, has become a lead supporter of the program. Though the rain forced the program inside, there was no lack of participation in the day’s line-up.

Kevin Walden, Campbell County Veterans Service Officer, started the event by singing a song as part of the Campbell County Honor Guard.