A hot day in September didn’t slow down the activities at the 26th annual Douglas County Environmental Stewardship day, held on Thursday, Sept. 12. This event, sponsored by the Douglas County Farm Bureau, is for sixth-grade students in Douglas County and is held at Walnut Point State Park near Oakland.
Students learned about how important native frogs are to the environment. Frogs are an indicator species, which means their population is indicative of the health of the whole environment. A few students were able to dress up as a frog! By putting on a frog costume, students learned how substances are absorbed through a frogs skin. This can include harmful pollutions. They discovered frogs’ eyes can retract into their head when they swallow. Each frog species has a distinctive appearance and sound they make. Douglas-Hart nature center brought along a Cuban tree frog named Rena that was a popular addition to the day.
Students also learned about the value of forestry management, soil conservation, recycling, and the importance of maintaining clean water supplies. There was also a chance to help collect fish from the lake for observation, view animal specimens, discover lots of fun facts about pollinators, and take a trail walk while learning about native plants.
The four schools attending were Shiloh, Oakland, Tuscola, and Villa Grove, for a total of over 265 students. Speakers were from Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Water Survey, Growmark, Natural History Survey of the University of Illinois, University of Illinois Extension, Douglas Hart Nature Center, and Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The event is fortunate to have a dependable group of volunteers from Tuscola Rotary and Tuscola Kiwanis to lead the groups of students to each station and help ensure this day is a success.