Douglas County Kids Groundwater Festival and Multi County Outreach

Progress report for YENC21-156

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2021: $4,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Manager:
Jessica Albertsen
Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District
Expand All

Project Information

Summary:

Attendees of this event will be educated on the best management practices and concepts for soil health, water quality, erosion control, and benefits of sustainable agriculture. 

To accommodate all the youth in attendance, these concepts and practices will be taught to multiple learning styles with hands on activities and visual aids. Overall, it will cover the three concepts of sustainable agriculture by highlighting economy impact, career opportunities and importance of community involvement and environmental impact. The take home message is to intensify and embrace long term stewardship of our nations land, air, water, natural resources and renewable energies.

Project Objectives:
  1. Increase youth knowledge on career opportunities and best management practices related to sustainable agriculture.
  2. Provide students with skills that allow them to continue learning and expand their horizons outside of the classroom setting with sustainable agriculture resources.
  3. Demonstrate and encourage hands on learning opportunities related to sustainable agriculture, and all the aspects of the water cycle.
  4. Increase awareness related to environmental learning and sustainable agriculture.
  5. Maximize the amount of information to include a wide variety of presenters.
  6. Share project results in education and outreach section of annual newsletter, public meetings, school and county websites and social media.

Educational & Outreach Activities

3 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 On-farm demonstrations
1 Published press articles, newsletters
10 Webinars / talks / presentations
1 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

196 Youth
17 Parents
10 Educators
5 Other adults
Education/outreach description:

When this grant was applied for, there was a lot of educational tools and field day "props" that were requested to expand our current programs, and upgrade some of the outdated materials. To date, the items bought have done just that. They have been used at two field days one of which was at a farm site. With the items purchased so far, they have been used for 10 presentations totaling roughly 196 youth and roughly 32 adults which included both teachers, adults, and parents. 

This newsletter was put together by Douglas SWCD Staff and distributed to over 3,100 households and landowners in the county. It includes a highlight about the SARE grant project: 2022_Winter_Newsletter_final

Learning Outcomes

105 Youth reporting change in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness
Key changes:
  • Water Quality

  • Soil Health

  • Conservation Practices

  • Sustainable Agriculture Practices

Results and discussion:

 

This image is a few of the items purchased from the grant for one of the displays/ presentations on "Edible Infiltration" It broke down the various soil horizons and soil classes for the students. The food activity that went with this presentation was crushed/non crushed chocolate crispy cereal which represented soil and milk which represented the water. The kids partnered up, one crushed their cereal to represent plowed soil and the other just dumped it in a cup to represent the good healthy soil. The milk was dumped quickly over the cereal and the students had to observe what they learned, how fast the water infiltrated through, and to determine if their predictions were correct. 

Not pictured but also used at this event was the "table top" rain fall simulator, root display, and magnifier glasses all purchased with this grant. 

Overall, these displays and hands on demonstration tools were amazing and very helpful for teaching! The students really enjoyed and it was a blast to see their eyes light up and how excited they got when they were right with their predictions! I believe the impact this had on them was life long. A few went home and told their parents to start planting cover crops in their fields. 

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.