City of Ozark Teaches OMS Students About Conservation
May 14 was not a typical day for a group of Ozark Middle School sixth graders. Instead of learning in their classrooms, they took to the great outdoors at the Ozark Community Center for hands-on lessons about plants, animals and streams.
“It’s a fun day,” said Tim Auchtung, environmental resource field supervisor with the Ozark Public Works Department. “This is something we look forward. Every year we have a different group of sixth graders from Ozark schools and it’s always fun for these kids.”
The half-day event is organized through the City of Ozark Department of Public Works, which is an Adopt-A-Class partner through the Ozark Chamber of Commerce. The event includes five different stations — stream team, leaf identification, predatory birds, furs and skulls, and reptiles — where students get to see animals close up, look for crawdads and bugs in the water, make rubbings of different leaves, and touch various firs and animal skins.
The experts not only include Ozark city employees like Auchtung and the horticulturist, but people from the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Stream Team, Dickerson Park Zoo, and a local taxidermist.
This is the seventh year the city has partnered with the school for the event, and Auchtung said the partnership is a symbiotic one because while students are learning about stormwater, leaves, trees and animals, the city is fulfilling a state requirement of education outreach.
Auchtung said the best part, however, is planting seeds in the minds students to inspire conservation awareness.
“If you have one student that goes into a conservation field, I think that’s a good thing,” Auchtung said.