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Enhancing the Environment by Preserving Soil, Water & Our Resources

Education Guide

Classroom Programs | Community Programs | 4-H Soil and Water Conservation Project
Envirothon / Northwest Indiana Regional Envirothon | Teacher Resources

Classroom Programs

Classroom Programs are 1 hour in length and some require an outdoor space, science lab or art room.

Pollinators-Children learn about the process and importance of pollination, including parts of flowers and various species responsible for pollination. (K-3)

Project Soil 1-Students will learn about soil textures, different types of erosion and why soil is important to everyone. (1-3)

What is a Watershed?-The Enviroscape© is a watershed model that can be used to demonstrate all sorts of ecological processes and allow students to investigate the causes of point and non-point source pollution. Can also be used to look at the function of wetlands. (3-adult)

Project Soil 2-Students will get hand son experience with soil texturing (MESSY!) Students will also learn different uses for soil and its importance to them. (4-6)

The Incredible Journey (Levels 1 and 2)-Students will simulate the movement of water within the water cycle by playing a fun game! (4-8)

Edible Soils-Children learn about the most valuable natural resource and enjoy eating a little dirt. (K-8)
*this program involves food! Please check allergies prior to scheduling!

Sum of the Parts-Students demonstrate how everyone contributes to the pollution of a river as it flows through a watershed and recognize that everyone’s contribution can be reduced. (4-8)

Wacky Waterdrops-Students will simulate the movement of water within the water cycle by playing a fun game! (1-3)

8-4-1, One for All-This activity allows students to understand the various pressures put on a water supply and how we all must work together to preserve and protect our water. (6-adult)

Animals in Winter-We will read books about animal adaptations to winter (hibernation, migration, etc.), conduct an investigation and follow it up with a relay race! (best done in a gym) (K-3)

Investigating Soil-An inquiry into what makes up our soil and why it is one of our most valuable resources. Students will get hands on experience with different soil types and what is in the soil. This program is best done in Spring or Fall and outside if possible. (K-3)

Honeybees-We will learn about the life cycle of the honeybee and the differences between honeybees, other native bees and wasps. Then we’ll simulate the roles of various worker bees using costumes and props. (K-2)

The Living Soil-Students learn that the soil ecosystem plays a very important part of life above ground and how healthy soils support healthy environments. (3-6)

This is just a sampling of our programs. We can create something specific for a topic of your choice or tweak any of the programs listed for various age groups. Just contact us!

Soil Trek-Students do several hands-on activities outside. Some of the activities include: pH testing, soil temperature and percolation test. (4-High School) Spring and Fall.

Remember! All programs are free, but the expenses are supported by our Affiliate Membership dues. Have you considered purchasing an affiliate membership for your class?

For program scheduling or questions contact the SWCD office at
(219) 326-6808 ext. 2115 or email: nmessacar@laportecounty.org

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Community Programs

Our Education Coordinator is available to speak at your group meetings. She currently has presentations available on the following topics:

  • Rain Gardens
  • Pollinators and Native Plants
  • Vermicomposting

If you would like a presentation on any other type of environmental or agricultural issue, please contact our office. We are more than happy to develop something for you. Also, many of our classroom activities work very well for adults. (And they’re fun!) If you are looking for help with a meeting, just give us a call at (219) 362-6633 ext. 3.

LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District - Community Programs

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4-H Soil and Water Conservation Project

Though it isn’t a new project, the Soil and Water Conservation Project hasn’t been offered in LaPorte County for several years. We are excited to be the project superintendents for this project and hope to see lots of entries at next summer’s LaPorte County Fair!

The project offers many activities from performing a worm census to interviewing conservation professionals -- and everything in between! If you are interested in more information about this project, or would like someone to come talk to your club about it, please contact Nicole Messacar at the SWCD Office. Our number is 219-326-6808, ext. 2115 or by e-mail at Nicole.messacar@in.nacdnet.net. You can also contact the Purdue Cooperative Extension Office at 219-324-9407.

LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District - 4-H Soil and Water Conservation Project

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Envirothon / Northwest Indiana Regional Envirothon

The 2012 Northwest Indiana Regional Envirothon will be held at Red Mill County Park on March 15, 2012. The LaPorte County SWCD will continue to pay the 2012 registration fee for all LaPorte County teams interested in participating in the NW Indiana Regional Contest. However, the requirements will change in 2013. For those teams interested in participating in the 2013 contest, you will need to perform some community service to be eligible for a registration fee gift. The SWCD will make service opportunities available to the Envirothon teams as they arise. If your team participates in some conservation related event or project that you wish to count as your community service, please provide the details to the Education Coordinator as soon as you have them. You can check back to our page often to find service opportunities to participate in. Contact Nicole Messacar for more details.

The Indiana Envirothon is a competitive learning event for high school aged students. It is open not only to school groups but scouting groups, FFA’s, Green Teams, 4-H groups,  home-schoolers, and more.  Envirothon tests students’ knowledge on a variety of topics including soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatics and current environmental issues.

Envirothon raises environmental awareness and prepares tomorrow’s leaders to deal with the consequences of human activity on our environment.

At the national level, students compete for over $100,000 in scholarships. Please visit www.envirothon.org for additional information about the national competition.

James Potthoff Forestry

The LaPorte County SWCD has Envirothon trunks available for check-out. These trunks contain hard copies all of the resources that students need in order to prepare for the Envirothon. Our Education Coordinator is also available to help students prepare, recommend extra resources, and more. Please contact her at 219-326-6808, ext. 2116 for more information or to check out an Envirothon trunk.

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Teacher Resources

Natural Resources Education Center
http://www.in.gov/dnr/nrec/

Environmental Education Activities Correlated to State and National Standards
http://eelink.net/pages/EE+Activities+-+Correlated+to+National+Learning+Standards

Soil Lesson Plans

Natural Resources Conservation Service Soils Lesson Plans
http://soils.usda.gov/education/resources/K_12/lessons/

National Association of Conservation Districts Soils Education Resources
http://www.nacdnet.org/education/resources/soils/

Indiana Envirothon
http://iaswcd.org/district_tools/envirothon.html

EPA Teaching Center
http://www.epa.gov/teachers/

Environmental Education Association of Indiana
http://www.goshen.edu/eeai/

The Adventures of Herman the Worm (vermicomposting)
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/worms/

Pollinator Lesson Plans

NAPPC Pollinator Curriculum
http://www.nappc.org/curriculum/

Co-Evolution Institute’s Pollinator Curriculum
http://www.pollinator.org/Resources/CoE%20Gardens%20Curriculum.pdf

PBS Interactive Pollinator Game (fun on a Smart board!)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/flower/pollinator.html

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